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Copyright, 1917, by 

Published September, 1917 

SEP 19 1917 



The following persons have co-operated in preparing the 
present volume: Leonard Bacon (verses in "Poverty Is No 
Crime)," Florence Noyes (suggestions on the style of all the 
plays), George Rapall Noyes (introduction, revision of the 
translation, and suggestions on the style of all the plays), 
Jane W. Robertson ("Poverty Is No Crime"), Minnie Eline 
Sadicoff ("Sin and Sorrow Are Common to All"), John 
Laurence Seymour ("It's a Family Affair — We'll Settle It 
Ourselves" and "A Protegee of the Mistress"). The system 
of transliteration for Russian names used in the book is with 
very small variations that recommended for "popular" use 
by the School of Russian Studies in the University of Liver- 



Introduction . 3 

A Protegee of the Mistress 11 

Poverty Is No Crime 67 

Sin and Sorrow Are Common to All . . . . 137 

It's a Family Affair — We'll Settle It Ourselves 215 



Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky (1823-86) is the 
great Russian dramatist of the central decades of the nine- 
teenth century, of the years when the realistic school was all- 
powerful in Russian literature, of the period when Turgenev, 
Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy created a literature of prose fiction 
that has had no superior in the world's history. His work 
in the drama takes its place beside theirs in the novel. Ob- 
viously inferior as it is in certain ways, it yet sheds light on 
an important side of Russian life that they left practically 
untouched. Turgenev and Tolstoy were gentlemen by birth, 
and wrote of the fortunes of the Russian nobility or of the 
peasants whose villages bordered on the nobles' estates. 
Dostoyevsky, though not of this landed-proprietor school, 
still dealt with the nobility, albeit with its waifs and strays. 
None of these masters more than touched the Russian mer- 
chants, that homespun moneyed class, crude and coarse, 
grasping and mean, without the idealism of their educated 
neighbors in the cities or the homely charm of the peasants 
from whom they themselves sprang, yet gifted with a rough 
force and determination not often found among the culti- 
vated aristocracy. This was the field that Ostrovsky made 
peculiarly his own. 

With this merchant class Ostrovsky was familiar from his 
childhood. Born in 1823, he was the son of a lawyer doing 
business among the Moscow tradesmen. After finishing his 
course at the gymnasium and spending three years at the 
University of Moscow, he entered the civil service in 1843 
as an employee of the Court of Conscience in Moscow, from 


which he transferred two years later to the Court of Com- 
merce, where he continued until he was discharged from the 
service in 1851. Hence both by his home life and by his pro- 
fessional training he was brought into contact with types 
such as Bolshov and Rizpolozhensky in "It's a Family Affair 
—We'll Settle It Ourselves." 

As a boy of seventeen Ostrovsky had already developed a 
passion for the theatre. His literary career began in the 
year 1847, when he read to a group of Moscow men of letters 
his first experiments in dramatic composition. In this same 
year he printed one scene of "A Family Affair," which ap- 
peared in complete form three years later, in 1850, and estab- 
lished its author's reputation as a dramatist of undoubted 
talent. Unfortunately, by its mordant but true picture of 
commercial morals, it aroused against him the most bitter 
feelings among the Moscow merchants. Discussion of the 
play in the press was prohibited, and representation of it on 
the stage was out of the question. It was reprinted only in 
1859, and then, at the instance of the censorship, in an al- 
tered form, in which a police officer appears at the end of the 
play as a deus ex machina, arrests Podkhalytizin, and an- 
nounces that he will be sent to Siberia. In this mangled 
version the play was acted in 1861; in its original text it did 
not appear on the stage until 1881. Besides all this, the 
drama was the cause of the dismissal of Ostrovsky from the 
civil service, in 1851. The whole episode illustrates the diffi- 
culties under which the great writers of Russia have con- 
stantly labored under a despotic government. 

Beginning with 1852 Ostrovsky gave his whole strength to 
literary work. He is exceptional among Russian authors in 
devoting himself almost exclusively to the theatre. The lat- 
est edition of his works contains forty-eight pieces written 
entirely by him, and six produced in collaboration with 


other authors. It omits his translations from foreign dram- 
atists, which were of considerable importance, including, 
for example, a version of Shakespeare's "Taming of the 

The plays of Ostrovsky are of varied character, including 
dramatic chronicles based on early Russian history, and a 
fairy drama, "Little Snowdrop." His real strength lay, 
however, in the drama of manners, giving realistic pictures 
of Russian life among the Russian city classes and the minor 
nobility. Here he was recognized, from the time of the ap- 
pearance on the stage of his first pieces, in 1853 and the fol- 
lowing years, as without a rival among Russian authors for 
the theatre. Of this realistic drama the present volume gives 
four characteristic examples. 

The tone of "Poverty Is No Crime" (1854), written only 
four years after "A Family Affair," is in sharp contrast with 
that of its predecessor. In the earlier play Ostrovsky had 
adopted a satiric tone that proved him a worthy disciple of 
Gogol, the great founder of Russian realism. Not one lova- 
ble character appears in that gloomy picture of merchant 
life in Moscow; even the old mother repels us by her stupidity 
more than she attracts us by her kindliness. No ray of light 
penetrates the "realm of darkness" — to borrow a famous 
phrase from a Russian critic — conjured up before us by the 
young dramatist. In "Poverty Is No Crime" we see the 
other side of the medal. Ostrovsky had now been affected 
by the Slavophile school of writers and thinkers, who found 
in the traditions of Russian society treasures of kindliness 
and love that they contrasted with the superficial glitter of 
Western civilization. Life in Russia is varied as elsewhere, 
and Ostrovsky could change his tone without doing violence 
to realistic truth. The tradesmen had not wholly lost the 
patriarchal charm of their peasant fathers. A poor appren- 


tice is the hero of "Poverty Is No Crime," and a wealthy 
manufacturer the villain of the piece. Good-heartedness is 
the touchstone by which Ostrovsky tries character, and this 
may be hidden beneath even a drunken and degraded exte- 
rior. The scapegrace, Lyubim Tortsov, has a sound Russian 
soul, and at the end of the play rouses his hard, grasping 
brother, who has been infatuated by a passion for aping 
foreign fashions, to his native Russian worth. 

Just as "Poverty Is No Crime" shows the influence of the 
Slavophile movement, "A Protegee of the Mistress" (1859) 
was inspired by the great liberal movement that bore fruit 
in the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. Ostrovsky here 
departed from town to a typical country manor, and pro- 
duced a work kindred in spirit to Turgenev's "Sportsman's 
Sketches," or "Mumu." In a short play, instinct with sim- 
ple poetry, he shows the suffering brought about by serf- 
dom: the petty tyranny of the landed proprietor, which is 
the more galling because it is practised with a full conviction 
of virtue on the part of the tyrant; and the crushed natures 
of the human cattle under his charge. 

The master grim, the lowly serf that tills his lands; 
With lordly pride the first sends forth commands, 
The second cringes like a slave. 

— NeJcrasov. 

Despite the unvarying success of his dramas on the stage, 
Ostrovsky for a long time derived little financial benefit 
from them. Discouragement and overwork wrecked his 
health, and were undoubtedly responsible for the gloomy 
tone of a series of plays written in the years following 1860, 
of which "Sin and Sorrow Are Common to All" (1863) is a 
typical example. Here the dramatist sketches a tragic inci- 
dent arising from the conflict of two social classes, the petty 


tradesmen and the nobility. From the coarse environment 
of the first emerge honest, upright natures like Krasnov; 
from the superficial, dawdling culture of the second come 
weak-willed triflers like Babayev. The sordid plot sweeps 
on to its inevitable conclusion with true tragic force. 

Towards the end of his life Ostrovsky gained the material 
prosperity that was his due. "There was no theatre in 
Russia in which his plays were not acted" (Skabichevsky ) . 
From 1874 to his death he was the president of the Society 
of Russian Dramatic Authors. In 1885 he received the im- 
portant post of artistic director of the Moscow government 
theatres; the harassing duties of the position proved too 
severe for his weak constitution, and he passed away in the 
next year. 

As a dramatist, Ostrovsky is above all else a realist; no 
more thoroughly natural dramas than his were ever com- 
posed. Yet as a master of realistic technique he must not 
be compared with Ibsen, or even with many less noted men 
among modern dramatists. His plays have not the neat, 
concise construction that we prize to-day. Pages of dialogue 
sometimes serve no purpose except to make a trifle clearer 
the character of the actors, or perhaps slightly to heighten 
the impression of commonplace reality. Even in "Sin and 
Sorrow" and "A Protegee" whole passages merely illustrate 
the background against which the plot is set rather than 
help forward the action itself. Many plays, such as "A 
Family Affair," end with relatively unimportant pieces of 
dialogue. Of others we are left to guess even the conclusion 
of the main action: will Nadya in "A Protegee" submit to 
her degrading fate, or will she seek refuge in the pond ? 

Ostrovsky rarely uses the drama to treat of great moral 
or social problems. He is not a revolutionary thinker or an 


opponent of existing society; his ideal, like that of his pred- 
ecessor Gogol, is of honesty, kindliness, generosity, and 
loyalty in a broad, general way to the traditions of the past. 
He attacks serfdom not as an isolated leader of a forlorn 
hope, but as an adherent of a great party of moderate re- 

Thus Ostrovsky's strength lies in a sedate, rather common- 
place realism. One of the most national of authors, he loses 
much in translation. 1 His style is racy, smacking of the 
street or the counting-house; he is one of the greatest mas- 
ters of the Russian vernacular. To translate his Moscow 
slang into the equivalent dialect of New York would be 
merely to transfer Broadway associations to the Ilyinka. A 
translator can only strive to be colloquial and familiar, giving 
up the effort to render the varying atmosphere of the different 
plays. And Ostrovsky's characters are as natural as his 
language. Pig-headed merchants; apprentices, knavish or 
honest as the case may be; young girls with a touch of poetry 
in their natures, who sober down into kindly housewives; 
tyrannical serf-owners and weak-willed sons of noble families : 
such is the material of which he builds his entertaining, 
wholesome, mildly thoughtful dramas. Men and women 
live and love, trade and cheat in Ostrovsky as they do in 
the world around us. Now and then a murder or a suicide 
appears in his pages as it does in those of the daily papers, 
but hardly more frequently. In him we can study the life 
of Russia as he knew it, crude and coarse and at times cruel, 
yet full of homely virtue and aspiration. Of his complex 
panorama the present volume gives a brief glimpse. 

1 Ostr6vsky it may be remarked, has been singularly neglected by translators 
from the Russian. The only previous versions of complete plays in English known 
to the present writer arc "The Storm," by Constance Garnett (London and Chi- 
cago, 1899, and since reprinted), and "Incompatibility of Temper" and "A Domestic 
Picture" (in "The Humour of Russia." rjy E. L. Voynich, London and New York, 




Madam Ulanbekov, 1 an old woman of nearly sixty, tall, thin, 
with a large nose, and thick, black eyebrows; of an Eastern 
type of face, with a small mustache. She is powdered and 
rouged, and dressed richly in black. She is owner of two 
thousand serfs. 

Leonid, her son, eighteen years old, very handsome, resembling 
his mother slightly. Wears summer dress. Is studying in 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna, a toady of Madam Ulanbekov's, 
an old maid of forty. Scanty hair, parted slantingly, combed 
high, and held by a large comb. She is continually smiling 
with a wily expression, and she suffers from toothache; about 
her throat is a yellow shawl fastened by a brooch. 

Potapych, the old steward. Tie and vest, white; coat black. 
Has an air of importance. 

Nadezhda 2 (called Nadya), seventeen years old, favorite protS- 
gSe of Madam Ulanbekov; dressed like a young lady. 

Gavrilovna, the housekeeper; an elderly woman, plump, with 
an open countenance. 

Grisha, a boy of nineteen, a favorite of the mistress, dandified 
in dress, wearing a watch with a gold chain. He is handsome, 
curly-headed, with a foolish expression. 

Negligentov, a clerk in a government office; a very disrepu- 
table young man. 

Liza, a housemaid, not bad-looking, but very stout and snub- 
nosed; in a white dress, of which the bodice is short and ill- 
fitting. About her neck is a little red kerchief; her hair is 
very much pomaded. 

A peasant girl, a footman, and a housemaid: mute personages. 

The action takes place in the springtime, at the suburban estate 
of Madam Ulanbekov 

J The name hints at a Circassian origin and a tyrannical disposition. Ostrovsky 
frequently gives to the persons in his plays names that suggest their characteristics. 
2 Hope. 



Part of a densely grown garden; on the right benches; at the 
back a rail fence, separating the garden from a field 


Enter Nadya and Liza 

Nadya. No, Liza, don't say that: what comparison could 
there be between country and city life ! 

Liza. What is there so specially fine about city life? 

Nadya. Well, everything is different there; the people 
themselves, and even the whole social order are entirely 
different. [She sits down on a bench] When I was in Peters- 
burg with the mistress, one had only to take a look at the 
sort of people who came to see us, and at the way our rooms 
were decorated; besides, the mistress took me with her 
everywhere; we even went on the steamer to Peterhof, and 
to Tsarskoe Selo. 

Liza. That was pretty fine, I suppose. 

Nadya. Yes indeed, it was so splendid that words can't 
describe it ! Because, no matter how much I may tell you 
about it, if you haven't seen it yourself, you'll never under- 
stand. And when a young lady, the mistress's niece, was 
visiting us, I used to chat with her the whole evening, and 
sometimes we even sat through the night. 

Liza. What in the world did you talk about with her ? 

12 A PROTEGEE act i 

Nadya. Well, naturally, for the most part about the ways 
of high society, about her dancing partners, and about the 
officers of the guard. And as she was often at balls, she told 
me what they talked about there, and whom she had liked 
best. Only how fine those young ladies are ! 

Liza. What do you mean ? 

Nadya. They're very gay. And where did they learn all 
that? Afterwards we lived a whole winter in Moscow. 
Seeing all this, my dear, you try to act like a born lady 
yourself. Your very manners change, and you try to have 
a way of talking of your own. 

Liza. But why should we try to be fine ladies ? Much 
good it does ! 

Nadya. Much good, you say? Well, you see the ladies 
promised to marry me off, so I am trying to educate myself, 
so that no one'll be ashamed to take me. You know what 
sort of wives our officials have; well, what a lot they are! 
And I understand life and society ten times better than they 
do. Now I have just one hope: to marry a good man, so 
I may be the mistress of my ovn household. You just watch 
then how I'll manage the hoi e; it will be no worse at my 
house than at any fine lady's. 

Liza. God grant your wish ! But do you notice how the 
young master is running after you? 

Nadya. Much good it'll do him ! Of course, he's a pretty 
fellow, you might even say, a beauty; only he has nothing 
to expect from me; because I am decidedly not of that sort; 
and on the other hand, I'm trying now in every way that 
there may be no scandal of any sort about me. I have but 
one thing in mind: to get married. 

Liza. Even married life is sometimes no joy ! You may 
get such a husband that .... God help you ! 

Nadya. What a joy it would be to me to marry a really 

scene ii A PROTEGEE 13 

fine man ! I, thank God, am able to distinguish between 
people: who is good, who bad. That's easy to see at once 
from their manners and conversation. But the mistress is 
so unreasonable in holding us in so strictly, and in keeping 
everlasting watch over us ! Indeed, it's insulting to me ! 
I'm a girl that knows how to take care of herself without any 

Liza. It looks as if the master were coming. 

Nadya. Then let's go. [They rise and go out. 

Leonid comes in with a gun. 

Leonid and then Potapych 

Leonid. Wait a bit ! Hey, you, where are you going ? 
Why are they always running away from me? You can't 
catch them anyhow ! [He stands musing. Silence. 

A Girl sings behind the rail fence : 

"No man may hope to flee the sting 
Of cruel affliction's pain; 
New love within the heart may sing — 
Regret still in its train." 

Leonid. [Running up to the fence] What a pretty girl you 

Girl. Pretty, but not yours ! 

Leonid. Come here ! 

Girl. Where? 

Leonid. To me in the garden. 

Girl. Why go to you ? 

Leonid. I'll go to town and buy you earrings. 

Girl. You're only a kid ! 

She laughs loudly and goes out. Leonid stands with 

14 A PROTEGEE act i 

bowed head musing. Potapych enters in hunting- 
dress, with a gun. 

Potapych. One can't keep up with you, sir; you have 
young legs. 

Leonid. [All the while lost in thought] All this, Potapych, 
will be mine. 

Potapych. All yours, sir, and we shall all be yours. . . . 
Just as we served the old master, so we must serve you. . . . 
Because you're of the same blood .... That's the right 
way. Of course, may God prolong your dear mamma's 
days. . . . 

Leonid. Then I shan't enter the service, Potapych; I 
shall come directly to the country, and here I shall live. 

Potapych. You must enter the service, sir. 

Leonid. What's that you say? Much I must! They'll 
make me a copying clerk ! [He sits down upon a bench. 

Potapych. No, sir, why should you work yourself? 
That's not the way to do things ! They'll find a position 
for you — of the most gentlemanly, delicate sort; your clerks 
will work, but you'll be their chief, over all of them. And 
promotions will come to you of themselves. 

Leonid. Perhaps they will make me vice-governor, or elect 
me marshal of the nobility. 

Potapych. It's not improbable. 

Leonid. Well, and when I'm vice-governor, shall you be 
afraid of me? 

Potapych. Why should I be afraid? Let others cringe, 
but for us it's all the same. You are our master: that's 
honor enough for us. 

Leonid. [Not hearing] Tell me, Potapych, have we many 
pretty girls here? 

Potapych. Why, really, sir, if you think it over, why 
shouldn't there be girls? There are some on the estate, 

scene ii A PROTfiGfiE 15 

and among the house servants; only it must be said that in 
these matters the household is very strictly run. Our mis- 
tress, owing to her strict life and her piety, looks after that 
very carefully. Now just take this: she herself marries off 
the protegees and housemaids whom she likes. If a man 
pleases her, she marries the girl off to him, and even gives 
her a dowry, not a big one — needless to say. There are 
always two or three protegees on the place. The mistress 
takes a little girl from some one or other and brings her up; 
and when she is seventeen or eighteen years old, then, with- 
out any talk, she marries her off to some clerk or towns- 
man, just as she takes a notion, and sometimes even to a 
nobleman. Ah, yes, sir ! Only what an existence for these 
protegees, sir ! Misery ! 

Leonid. But why ? 

Potapych. They have a hard time. The lady says: "I 
have found you a prospective husband, and now," she says, 
"the wedding will be on such and such a day, and that's an 
end to it; and don't one of you dare to argue about it !" It's 
a case of get along with you to the man you're told to. Be- 
cause, sir, I reason this way: who wants to see disobedience 
in a person he's brought up? And sometimes it happens 
that the bride doesn't like the groom, nor the groom the 
bride: then the lady falls into a great rage. She even goes 
out of her head. She took a notion to marry one protegee 
to a petty shopkeeper in town; but he, an unpolished indi- 
vidual, was going to resist. "The bride doesn't please me," 
he said, "and, besides, I don't want to get married yet." 
So the mistress complained at once to the town bailiff and 
to the priest: well, they brought the blockhead round. 

Leonid. You don't say. 

Potapych. Yes, sir. And even if the mistress sees a girl 
at one of her acquaintances', she immediately looks up a hus- 

16 A PROTfiGfiE act i 

band for her. Our mistress reasons this way: that they are 
stupid; that if she doesn't look after them closely now, 
they'll just waste their life and never amount to anything. 
That's the way, sir. Some people, because of their stupidity, 
hide girls from the mistress, so that she may never set eyes 
on them; because if she does, it's all up with the girls. 

Leonid. And so she treats other people's girls the same 

Potapych. Other people's, too. She extends her care to 
everybody. She has such a kind heart that she worries 
about everybody. She even gets angry if they do anything 
without her permission. And the way she looks after her 
protegees is just a wonder. She dresses them as if they were 
her own daughters. Sometimes she has them eat with her; 
and she doesn't make them do any work. "Let everybody 
look," says the mistress, "and see how my protegees live; 
I want every one to envy them," she says. 

Leonid. Well, now, that's fine, Potapych. 

Potapych. And what a touching little sermon she reads 
them when they're married ! "You," she says, "have lived 
with me in wealth and luxury, and have had nothing to do; 
now you are marrying a poor man, and will live your life in 
poverty, and will work, and will do your duty. And now 
forget," she says, "how you lived here, because not for you 
I did all this; I was merely diverting myself, but you must 
never even think of such a life; always remember your in- 
significance, and of what station you are." And all this so 
feelingly that there are tears in her own eyes. 

Leonid. Well, now, that's fine. 

Potapych. I don't know how to describe it, sir. Some- 
how they all get tired of married life later; they mostly pine 

Leonid. Why do they pine away, Potapych? 

scene ii A PROTfiGfiE 17 

Potapych. Must be they don't like it, if they pine away. 

Leonid. That's queer. 

Potapych. The husbands mostly turn out ruffians. 

Leonid. Is that so ? 

Potapych. Everybody hopes to get one of our protegees, 
because the mistress right away becomes his patroness. Now 
in the case of these she marries to government clerks, there's 
a good living for the husband; because if they want to drive 
him out of the court, or have done so, he goes at once to our 
mistress with a complaint, and she's a regular bulwark for 
him; she'll bother the governor himself. And then the gov- 
ernment clerk can get drunk or anything else, and not be 
afraid of anybody, unless he is insubordinate or steals a 
lot. ... 

Leonid. But, say, Potapych, why is it that the girls run 
away from me? 

Potapych. How can they help running? They must 
run, sir ! 

Leonid. Why must they ? 

Potapych. Hm! Why? Why, because, as you are still 
under age, the mistress wants to watch over you as she 
ought to; well, and she watches over them, too. 

Leonid. She watches us, ha, ha, ha ! 

Potapych. Yes, sir. That's the truth! She was talking 
about that. You're a child, just like a dove, but, well — 
the girls are foolish. [Silence] What next, sir? It's your 
mamma's business to be strict, because she is a lady. But 
why should you mind her ! You ought to act for yourself, 
as all young gentlemen do. You don't have to suffer because 
she's strict. Why should you let others get ahead of you? 
That'd disgrace you. 

Leonid. Well, well, but I don't know how to talk to the 

18 A PROTfiGEE act i 

Potapych. But what's the use of talking to them a long 
time? What about? What kind of sciences would you 
talk about with them ? Much they understand such stuff ! 
You're just the master, and that's all. 

Leonid. [Glances to one side] Who's this coming ? That's 
Nadya, evidently. Ah, Potapych, how pretty she is ! 

Potapych. She is related to me, sir, my niece. Her 
father was set free by the late master; he was employed in 
a confectioner's in Moscow. When her mother died, her 
mistress took and brought her up, and is awful fond of her. 
And because her father is dead, why, now, she's an orphan. 
She's a good girl. 

Leonid. Looks as if they were coming this way. 

Potapych. Well, let 'em. 

Gavrilovna and Nadya enter. 


The same, Gavrilovna and Nadya 

Gavrilovna. How do you do, good master? 

Leonid. [Bows] How do you do? 

Gavrilovna. Well, master, I suppose you're bored in the 
country ? 

Leonid. No, not at all. 

Gavrilovna. What, not bored yet! Why, you see it's 
like a monastery here; they look after you with a hundred 
eyes. Well, as for you, it goes without saying, you're a 
young gentleman, you ought to have some amusement; 
but you can't. It's no great joy to shoot ducks ! 

[She laughs. 

Leonid. [Going up to Gavrilovna] Yes, yes, Gavrilovna. 

Nadya. [To Gavrilovna] Let's go. 

scene iv A PROTfiGEE 19 

Gavrilovna. Where do you want to go? Now, seeing 
that the mistress isn't at home, you ought to have a little 
fun with the young master. That's what young folks need. 
And what a clever girl she is, master ! In talking, and in 

Nadya. Come, what's the use ! 

Gavrilovna. Well, there's no harm in it ! I was young 
once. I didn't run away from the gentlemen, and you see 
they didn't eat me. Perhaps even he won't bite you. Quit 
playing the prude, and stay here ! But I'm going to get the 
tea ready ! Good-by, good master ! [She goes out. 

Leonid. Why did you not wish to remain with me? 

Potapych. What's this, sir! You talk to her as if she 
were a young lady ! Call her Nadya ! 

Leonid. What are you afraid of, Nadya? 
Nadya is silent. 

Potapych. Talk ! What are you keeping still for ? And 
I'm going, sir; I must get dressed for tea, too. [He goes out. 


Leonid, Nadya, and then Liza 

Nadya. Of course I'm a girl of humble position, but, 
indeed, even we do not want anybody to speak evil of us. 
Pray consider yourself, after such talk, who would marry 

Leonid. Are you going to get married? 

Nadya. Yes, sir. Every girl hopes to get married some 

Leonid. But have you a suitor ? 

Nadya. Not yet, sir. 

20 A PROTEGEE act r 

Leonid. [Timidly] If you have no suitor, then, maybe 
you're in love with somebody? 

Nadya. You want to know a lot ! Well, no, I needn't fib 
about it, I'm not in love with anybody, sir. 

Leonid. [With great joy] Then love me ! 

Nadya. It's impossible to force the heart, sir. 

Leonid. Why ? Don't you like me ? 

Nadya. Well, how could I help liking you ? But I'm not 

your equal ! What sort of love is that ? Clean ruin ! Here 

comes Liza running after me, I suppose. Good-by. Good 

luck to you ! [She goes away. 

Liza comes in. 

Liza. Master, if you please ! Your mamma has come. 

Leonid. Liza! 

Liza. [Approaching] What is it, please? 

Leonid. [He embraces Liza; she trembles with pleasure] Why 
won't Nadya love me? 

Liza. [Affectedly] What are you talking about, master ! 
Girls of our sort must look out for themselves ! 

Leonid. Look out for yourselves how ? 

Liza. [Looks him in the face and smiles] Why, everybody 
knows. What are you talking like a child for? 

Leonid. [Sadly] What shall I do now? Indeed, I don't 
know. They all run away from me. 

Liza. But don't lose courage; just make love a little bit. 
Heavens, our hearts aren't of stone ! 

Leonid. But see here! I asked her: she said she didn't 
love me. v 

Liza. Well, if you aren't a queer one ! Whoever asked 
girls right out whether they were in love or not! Even if 
one of us girls was in love, she wouldn't say so. 

Leonid. Why? 

scene v A PROTEGfiE 21 

Liza. Because she's bashful. Only let me go, sir! [She 
gets free] There goes the old fury ! 

Leonid. Come out here into the garden after supper, 
when mamma goes to bed. 

Liza. You don't lose any time ! 

Leonid. Please come. 

Liza. Well, we'll see later. [Vasilisa Peregrinovna enters] 
Master, please come to tea. your mamma is waiting. 

Leonid. All right, I'm coming. 


The same and Vasilisa Peregrinovna 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. I saw you, my dear, I saw you. 

Liza. There was nothing to see. [She goes out. 

Leonid. Well, what did you see ? What are you going to 
complain about? I shall simply say that you lie. Whom 
are they going to believe quicker, you or me? 

[He makes a grimace and goes out. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. There, that's the way they all 
treat me. I can't stand it ! My heart is just sick. I'm a 
martyr in this world. [She plucks a flower viciously and pulls 
off its petals] I believe that if I had the power I'd do this to 
all of you ! I'd do this to all of you ! I'd do this to all of 
you ! You just wait, you young scamp ! I'll catch you. 
My heart boils, it boils, it boils over ! And now I must 
smirk before the mistress as if I were a fool. What a life ! 
What a life ! The sinners in hell do not suffer as I suffer in 
this house ! [She goes out. 


A parlor. R°,ar centre, a door opening into the garden. Doors 
at the sides; in the centre a round table. 


From a side door there enter a footman with a samovar and a 
maid with a tea-service; they place both on the table and 
go out. Gavrilovna and Potapych enter after them. 
Gavrilovna prepares the tea. Vasilisa Peregrinovna 
enters from the garden. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. My dear, you always serve me 
only water. 

Gavrilovna. It isn't good for you to drink strong tea, 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. It's not your business to worry 
about me ! 

Gavrilovna. It dries up the chest, and you're all dried 
up as it is. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. What a life! What a life! I 
am not dried up from tea-drinking, my dear, but from the 
insults of the world. 

Gavrilovna. Insults ! You insult everybody yourself, as 
if something were stirring you up ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Don't you dare talk to me like 
that ! Just remember who you are. I once owned serfs 
myself; at my place, such people as you didn't dare peep, 
they walked the chalk. I didn't let your sort get high- 
headed ! 


scene ii A PROTEGEE 23 

Gavrilovna. That time's gone by. God gives a vicious 
cow no horns. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Oh, you monsters, wretches ! 
You want me to die. Soon I shall die, soon; my soul feels 
its fast approaching end ! [Raising her eyes heavenward] 
Shelter me from men, O lid of my coffin ! Take me to thee, 
moist earth ! Then you'll be happy; then you'll be joyful ! 

Potapych. We ? What's it to us ? . . . . Tend to your 
own business. 

Gavrilovna. While God is patient with your sins. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. For my sins I have already been 
tortured here. I mourn now the sins of others. 

Gavrilovna. It would be better for you not to bother 
with other people's sins. Now you're getting ready to die, 
yet you talk about the sins of others. Aren't you afraid? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Afraid of what ? Why should I 
be afraid ? 

Gavrilovna. Of that little black man with the hook. 
He's waiting for you now, I guess. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Where am I? Where am I? 
My God ! Just as if I were in a slough; monsters. . . . 

From the left side Madam Ulanbekov, Nadya, Liza, 
and Grisha come in. 


The same and Madam Ulanbekov, Grisha, Nadya, and 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Did our benefactress deign to 
attend prayer service ? 

Madam Ulanbekov. Yes, I went to vespers in town; 
to-day is a holiday there. 

24 A PROTEGEE act ii 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Did you distribute generous alms 
among the people present ? 

Madam Ulanbekov. No, I only called in Pustaya Street at 
old man Negligentov's. He asked me to set up his nephew; 
you see, the nephew is my godson. I'm sorry for these 
people ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. And you, dear soul, are a bene- 
factress to all. To all alike, to all ! You do favors to people 
who aren't even worth your looking at. 

Madam Ulanbekov. [Sits down] Never mind, my dear. 
One must do good to his neighbor. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. But do they feel that good? 
Can they understand, heartless creatures, how great is your 
condescension to them? 

Madam Ulanbekov. It's all the same to me, my dear ! 
One must do good for his own sake, for his own soul. Then 
I stopped in to see the chief of police, and asked him to 
make Negligentov head-clerk. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. But, my benefactress, is he 
worthy ? 

Madam Ulanbekov. Don't interrupt ! A strange man, 
our chief of police! I ask him, and he says: "There's no 
job!" I say to him: "You evidently don't understand 
who's asking you?" "Well!" says he, "do you expect me 
to drive out a good man for your godson ? " Churlish fellow ! 
However, he promised ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. To think of his hesitating ! I 
cannot understand how he could even talk back to you. 
Here his ill-breeding shows up at once. Maybe Negligentov, 
because of his life, isn't worth saying much about; never- 
theless, the chief ought to do everything in the world for 
him for your sake, no matter how worthless a scamp Negli- 
gentov might be. 

scene ii A PROTEGEE 25 

Madam Ulanbekov. Don't you forget that he's my god- 
son ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. And for that very reason, 
benefactress, I add: he is your godson; well, and that's all 
there is to it; the chief of police ought not to listen to any 
kind of gossip. And, besides, what things they do say ! 
They say that he's utterly worthless, that his uncle got him 
a court job, but he won't stay with it. He was gone a whole 
week, they say, somewhere or other about three miles down 
the highroad, near the tavern, fishing. Yes, and that he is 
a drunkard beyond his years. But whose business is it? 
He must be worthy of it, since you ask it. 

Madam Ulanbekov. I've never heard that. I've never 
seen him drunk; but I spoke to the chief of police on his 
behalf, because he's my godson. I take his mother's place. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. I know, benefactress, I know; 
every one knows that if you take a notion, you, my bene- 
factress, can make a man out of mud; but if you don't take 
a notion to do so, he'll fall into insignificance no matter how 
brainy he may be. He's to blame himself, because he didn't 
deserve it ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. I'm sure I never did any one any 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Harm? You, who because of 
your angelic heart wouldn't hurt even a fly ! Of course all 
we mortals are not without sins ; you have done many things ; 
you can't please everybody. Indeed, to tell the truth, my dear 
benefactress, there are people enough who complain about you. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Who complains about me ? What a 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. It's impossible for you to know 
everything, dear benefactress. And it's not worth while for 
you, in your gentility, to trouble yourself about every low- 

26 A PROTEGEE act n 

lived person. And though they do complain, what's the use 
of paying attention; are they worth your notice ? Since you 
do so many good deeds for others, God will forgive you, our 

Madam Ulanbekov. All the same, I want to know whom 
I have offended? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Well, there are some persons, 

Madam Ulanbekov. [Forcibly] But who ? Speak ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Don't be angry, benefactress ! 
I spoke as I did because you yourself know how touchy 
people are nowadays — never satisfied. 

Madam Ulanbekov. You spoke as you did in order to 
cause me some unpleasantness. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. May my eyes burst if I did. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Well, I know you. You're never at 
rest in your own soul unless you're about to say something 
mean. You will please be more careful; otherwise you'll 
drive me out of patience one of these days; it'll be all the 
worse for you. [Silence] Serve the tea. 

Gavrilovna. Right away, mistress. 

She pours out two cups. Potapych hands them to 
Madam Ulanbekov and to Vasilisa Peregrinovna. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Pour Grisha a cup, too; he went 
with me to-day, and he's tired out. 

Gavrilovna. Yes, mistress. 

[She pours out a cup and hands it to Grisha. 

Grisha. Why didn't you put more milk in it? Are you 
stingy, eh? 

Gavrilovna. [Adding milk] As it is, you're fattened on 
milk, like a calf. 

Grisha takes the cup and goes out through the door into 
the garden. L. - — - 

scene ii A PROTfiGfiE 27 

Madam Ulanbekov. I have thought of marrying Nadya 
to Negligentov — with a decent settlement, of course. You 
say that he leads a bad life; consequently we must hasten 
the wedding. She is a girl of good principles, she'll hold him 
back, otherwise he'll ruin himself with his bachelor habits. 
Bachelor life is very bad for young men. 

Nadya. [To Liza] Do you hear, Liza? What's this? 
My God ! 

Liza. You just have to listen, and you can't say a word. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. It's high time she was married, 
benefactress ; why should she be hanging around here ? And 
now your young son, the angel, has come. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Oh, be still ! What are you think- 
ing up now ? Why, he's only a child ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. A child, benefactress ! Well, 
there's nothing more to be said; God gave you a son as a 
joy and a consolation. And we can never feast our eyes 
enough on him. It's just as if the sunshine had come into 
our house. So good-natured, so merry, so gentle with every 
one ! But he's already running after the girls so; he never 
lets one pass; and they, silly things, are tickled to death; 
they fairly snort with delight. 

Madam Ulanbekov. You're lying. He never has a 
chance to see the girls anywhere, I think; all day long they 
are in their own side of the house, and, besides, they never 
go anywhere. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Ah, benefactress, there are no 
locks to keep a girl in, once she takes a notion to do some- 

Madam Ulanbekov. You hear, Gavrilovna ! Look after 
my girls. You know I won't have any loose conduct. You 
tell them that so they'll know I mean it. [To Vasilisa Pere- 
grinovna] But no, there can't be anything like that. You're 

28 A PROTEGEE act n 

merely disturbing me with your silly notions. What a dirty 
tongue you have ! What business had you to chatter ? 
And now I can't get the stuff out of my head ! Keep watch, 
Gavrilovna ! 

Gavrilovna. What's the use of listening to her, mistress ? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. But really, benefactress, am I 
saying anything bad? Would I dare to think any harm 
about him, that little angel ? Of course he's still a child, 
he wants to frisk a little; but here he hasn't any companions, 
so he plays with the girls. 

Madam Ulanbekov. There's poison on your tongue. [She 
reflects. Potapych takes the cups. Gavrilovna fills them 
and gives them back. Grisha comes in from the garden, gives 
Gavrilovna a push, and makes a sign with his head that she is 
to pour him another cup. Gavrilovna does so. Grisha goes 
out] However, I must marry off Nadya. 

Nadya. [Almost weeping] Mistress, you have shown me 
such kindness that I can't even express it. Forgive me for 
daring to speak to you now; but, because of your attitude 
towards me, I expected quite a different favor from you. In 
what respect have I displeased you now, mistress, that you 
wish to marry me to a drunkard? 

Madam Ulanbekov. My dear, it's not for you to argue 
about that; you're just a girl. You ought to rely in all 
things upon me, your patroness. I brought you up, and I 
am even bound to establish you in life. And again, you 
ought not to forget this : that he is my godson. Rather, you 
ought to be thankful for the honor. And now I tell you 
once and for all : I do not like it when my girls argue, I simply 
do not like it, and that's all there is to it. That's a thing I 
cannot permit anybody. I've been accustomed, from my 
youth, to having people obey my every word; it's time you 
knew that ! And it's very strange to me, my dear, that you 

scene in A PROTEGEE 29 

should presume to oppose me. I see that I have spoiled 
you; and you at once get conceited. [Nadya weeps. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Benefactress, one must have 
feeling for his fellow creature, one must have feeling. But 
what kind of feelings can such as they have, save ingrati- 

Madam Ulanbekov. No one's talking to you ! What are 
you mixing into everything for? [To Nadya, sternly] What 
new tale is this ? Still crying ! Let's have no more tears ! 
[Nadya weeps] I'm talking to you. [Rising slightly] Your 
tears mean absolutely nothing to me ! When I make up 
my mind to do a thing, I take a firm stand, and listen to no 
one on earth ! [She sits down] And know, first of all, that 
your obstinacy will lead to nothing; you will simply anger 

Nadya. [Weeping] I'm an orphan, mistress ! Your will 
must be obeyed ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. Well, I should say ! Of course it 
must; because I brought you up; that's equal to giving you 
life itself. 

Leonid enters. 

The same and Leonid 
Leonid. How are you, mamma? 

Madam Ulanbekov. How are you, my dear? Where 
have you been? 

Leonid. I went hunting with Potapych. I killed two 
ducks, mamma. 

Madam Ulanbekov. You don't spare your mother; the 
idea, going hunting in your state of health ! You'll fall sick 

30 A PROTEGEE act n 

again, God forbid ! and then you'll simply kill me ! Ah, my 
God, how I have suffered with that child ! [She muses. 

Gaveilovna. Some tea, master? 

Leonid. No, thanks. 

Madam Ulanbekov. [To Vasilisa Peregrinovna] When 
he was born, I was ill a very long time. Then he was al- 
ways sickly, and he grew up puny. How many tears have 
I shed over him ! Sometimes I would just look at him, and 
my tears would flow; no, it will never be my lot to see him 
in the uniform of the guardsmen ! But it was most distress- 
ing of all for me when his father, owing to the boy's poor 
health, was unable to send him to a military school. How 
much it cost me to renounce the thought that he might be- 
come a soldier ! For half a year I was ill. Just imagine to 
yourself, my dear, when he finishes his course, they will give 
him some rank or other, such as they give to any priest's 
son clerking in a government office ! Isn't it awful ? In the 
military service, especially in the cavalry, all ranks are aris- 
tocratic; one knows at once that even a junker is from the 
nobility. But what is a provincial secretary, or a titular 
councillor ! Any one can be a titular councillor — even a 
merchant, a church-school graduate, a low-class townsman, 
if you please. You have only to study, then serve awhile. 
Why, one of the petty townsmen who is apt at learning 
will get a rank higher than his ! That's the way of the world ! 
That's the way of the world ! Oh, dear ! [She turns away with 
a wave of her hand] I don't like to pass judgment on any- 
thing that is instituted by higher authority, and won't per- 
mit others to do so, but, nevertheless, I don't approve of this 
system. I shall always say loudly that it's unjust, unjust. 

Leonid. Why are Nadya's eyes red from crying? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. She hasn't been flogged for a 
long time. 



Madam Ulanbekov. That's none of your business, my 
dear. Nadya, go away, you're not needed here. 

[Nadya goes out. 

Leonid. Well, I know why: you want to marry her off. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Whether I do or not, my dear, is 
my own business. Furthermore, I do not like to have any 
one meddle in my arrangements. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. What a clever young man you 
are; you know everything, you get into everything ! 

Leonid. Indeed, mamma dear, I don't mean to meddle in 
your arrangements. Only he's a drunkard. 

Madam Ulanbekov. And that, again, is none of your 
business. Leave that to your mother's judgment. 

Leonid. I'm only sorry for her, mamma. 

Madam Ulanbekov. All very fine, my dear; but I should 
like to know from whom you heard that I'm going to marry 
Nadya. If one of the housemaids has .... 

Leonid. No, mamma, no. 

Madam Ulanbekov. How could you find out otherwise ? 
How did that get out? [To Gavrilovna] Find out without 

Leonid. No, indeed, mamma; the man she's going to 
marry told me. 

Madam Ulanbekov. What sort of a man? 

Leonid. I don't know what sort ! He said he was a clerk 
in a government office. . . .a peculiar surname: Negligentov. 
What a fumiy fellow he is ! He says he's your godson, and 
that he's afraid of nobody. He's dancing in the garden now, 

Madam Ulanbekov. Drunk, in my house ! 

Leonid. If you want, I'll invite him in. Potapych, call 
Negligentov ! He said that you were at his uncle's to-day, 
and that you promised to give him Nadya. Already he's 

32 A PROTEGEE act ii 

reckoning, in anticipation, how much income he will get in 
the court, or "savings," as he says. What a funny fellow! 
He showed me how they taught him at school. Do you 
want me to bring him in? 

Enter Potapych and Negligentov. 


The same, Negligentov and Potapych 

Madam Ulanbekov. Oh, oh, how disgusting ! Don't 
come near me ! 

Negligentov. I'm sent from uncle to thank you for your 

Leonid. He says, mamma, that they taught him a good 
deal, only it was impossible for him to learn anything. 

Negligentov. Impossible; from my birth I had no apti- 
tude for the sciences. I received from fifty to a hundred 
birch rods nearly every day, but they didn't quicken my 

Leonid. Oh, mamma, how amusingly he tells about the 
way he learned ! Here, just listen. Well, and how did you 
learn Latin ? 

Negligentov. Turpissime ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. [Shrugging her shoulders] What in 
the world is that? 

Negligentov. Most abominably. 

Leonid. No, wait a bit; and what did the teacher do with 
you ? 

Negligentov. [Bursts out laughing] It made you laugh. 
Once, after a cruel torture, he commanded two students to 
fasten me by the neck with a belt, and to lead me through 
the market-place as a laughing-stock, 



Madam Ulanbekov. How is it they took you into the 
civil service if you never learned anything? 

Negligentov. Through the mediation of influential 

Leonid. And did they expel you from school ? 

Negligentov. They didn't expel me; but they excluded 
me because I grew too much. 

Leonid. Grew too much? 

Negligentov. Well, as I, during all this teaching and 
grilling, remaining in the lower grades, was getting on in 
years, and grew more than the other fellows of my class, of 
course I was excluded because I was too big. I suffered all 
the more from the venality of those at the head. Our rector 
liked gifts; and a week before the examinations, he sent us 
all to our parents for presents. According to the number of 
these presents, we were promoted to the higher classes. 

Leonid. What was your conduct like? 

Negligentov. Reprehensible. 

Madam Ulanbekov. What in the world ! Good heavens ! 
Go away, my dear sir, go away ! 

Leonid. Oh, mamma, he's comical; wait a bit before 
driving him out. Dance, Negligentov ! 

Negligentov. [Dances and i 

"I shall go, shall go to mow 
Upon the meadow green." 

Geisha bursts out laughing. 
Madam Ulanbekov. Stop, stop ! [Negligentov ceases. 
To Grisha] What are you laughing at? 

Grisha. The member dances very comically. 

Madam Ulanbekov. What do you mean, "member"? 

Grisha. Why, he himself tells us all that he is a member 

34 A PROTEGEE act n 

in the court, not a copy-clerk. And so they call him the 

Negligentov. I call myself the member, although falsely, 
but expressly for the respect of the court menials, and in 
order to escape scoffing and insult. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Be gone, and don't you ever dare to 
show yourself to me ! 

Negligentov. Uncle says that I fell into loose living be- 
cause of my bachelor life, and that I may get mired in it 
unless you show me your favor. 

Madam Ulanbekov. No, no, never ! 

Negligentov. [On his knees] Uncle told me to beg you 
with tears, because I am a lost man, subject to many vices, 
and, without your favor, I shall not be tolerated in the civil 

Madam Ulanbekov. Tell your uncle that I shall always 
be your benefactress; but don't you even think about a 
wife ! Be gone, be gone ! 

Negligentov. I thank you for not deserting me! [To 
Grisha] Ask the mistress to let you go to the fair, and catch 
up with me ! [He goes out. 


The same, except Negligentov 

Madam Ulanbekov. How easy it is to be mistaken in 
people ! You take pains for them, work your head off, and 
they don't even feel it. I should have been glad to establish 
that boy in life, but he crawls into the house drunk. Now, 
if he's a prey to that weakness, he ought, at least, to try to 
hide it from me. Let him drink where he will, but don't 
let me see it! I should know, at least, that he respected 

scene v A PROTEGEE 35 

me. What clownishness ! What impudence ! Whom will 
he be afraid of, pray tell, if not of me? 

Leonid. Oh, what a comical fellow ! Don't be angry with 
me, mamma. When I found out that you wanted to marry 
Nadya to him, I felt sorry for her. And you're so good to 
everybody ! [He kisses her hand] I didn't want you to do 
anything unjust. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Such people fairly drive you into 
sin. [Kissing him] You have a beautiful soul, my dear ! [To 
Vasilisa Peregrinovna] Indeed, I have always thought 
that God himself sometimes speaks with the lips of babes. 
Liza ! Go tell Nadezhda not to cry, that I have turned out 

Liza. Yes, ma'am. [She goes out. 

Grisha. [Approaches, swaggering, and stops in a free and 
easy pose] Mistress ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. What's the matter with you? 

Grisha. Let me go down-town; to-day's a holiday there. 

Madam Ulanbekov. What do you want to go for? To 
stare at the drunkards? 

Grisha. [Clasping his hands behind him] Please, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. No, most certainly not ! 

Grisha. Please do, mistress. 

Madam Ulanbekov. I tell you, positively, no! One's 
morals are just spoiled at these fairs. Your greedy ears will 
take in all kinds of nastiness ! You're still a boy; that's no 
place for you ! 

Grisha. No, but please let me, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. You stay right here ! Put that non- 
sense out of your head ! 

Grisha. Well, I declare! I slave, and slave, and can't 
ever go anywhere ! 

36 A PROTEGEE act n 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Oh me, oh my! Oh me, oh 
my ! How spoiled you are ! How spoiled you are ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. What are you cackling about? 
Keep still ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. But how can I keep still, bene- 
factress ? Such lack of feeling ! Such ingratitude ! It 
pierces the heart. 

Madam Ulanbekov. I command you to keep still, and 
you must keep still ! 

Grisha. Please let me, ma'am ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. As if the mistress didn't love 
you, as if she didn't fondle you, more, if anything, than her 
own son ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. [Stamping her foot] Shhh ! . . . . I'll 
turn you out ! 

Grisha. I want awfully to go to the fair; please let me, 

Madam Ulanbekov. Well, go along then ! but come back 
early ! 

Grisha. Yes, ma'am. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Kiss the dear lady's hand, you 
blockhead ! 

Grisha. What are you trying to teach me for? I know 
my own business. [He kisses the mistress's hand and goes out. 

Madam Ulanbekov. As for you, my dear, if I ever hear 
anything like this again, I'll have them drive you off the 
place with brooms. 

She goes out. Vasilisa Peregrinovna remains stand- 
ing in a stupor. 

scene vii A PROTEGEE 37 


The same, except Madam Ulanbekov; then Liza 

Leonid. Well, you caught it, didn't you? And you de- 
served it, too ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. I'll have my turn yet. 
Liza enters. 

Liza. [Quietly to Leonid] Nadya sent me to say that we'll 
come to the garden. 

Leonid. Give her a kiss from me. 

Gavrilovna. God give you health, master, for taking 
our part. Any wretch can insult us; but there's no one to 
take our part. You'll get a rich reward for that in the next 

Leonid. I'm always ready to help you. 

[He goes out to the right, with a caper. 

Gavrilovna. Thanks, my dear ! 

[She goes out with Liza, to the left. 


Vasilisa Peregrinovna and Potapych 
Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Why don't you insult me? 
They all insult me, why don't you? You heard how she 
herself wanted to flog me; "I'll have them do it with 
brooms," she said. May her words choke her ! 

Potapych. What, I ! . . . . I insult anybody ! But as to 
the gentlefolk there .... I don't know, but perhaps they have 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Do you see what's going on in 
this house ! Do you see ? Do you understand it, or don't 
you? Just now when I began to talk about Grisha, you 

38 A PROTfiGfiE actii 

heard how she began to roar? You heard how she began 
to hiss? 

Potapych. What's that to me ? I, by the mistress's kind- 
ness, in her employ .... I shall carry out all her orders .... 
What business is it of mine ? I don't want to know anything 
that isn't my business. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. But did you see how Nadya 
and Liza — the hussies ! — looked at me ? Did you see how 
the snakes looked ? Ha ! I must look after them, I must ! 
[Potapych, with a wave of his hand, goes out] Bah ! you ! you 
old blockhead ! What people ! What people ! There's no 
one to whom I can talk, and relieve my heart. [She goes out. 


Part of the garden; to the rear, a pond, on the shore of which 
is a boat. Starry night. A choral song is heard in the 
far distance. For a while the stage is empty. 


Enter Nadya and Liza 

Liza. Oh, Nadya, what's this we're doing? When the 
mistress hears of this, it'll be your last day on earth. 

Nadya. If you're afraid, take yourself home. 

Liza. No, I'll wait for you. But all the same, my girl, 
it's awful, no matter what you say ! Lord preserve us when 
she finds it out. 

Nadya. Always singing the same tune! If you fear the 
wolf, keep out of the woods. 

Liza. But what has happened to you ? Before, you didn't 
talk like this. You used to hide yourself; and now you go 
to him of your own accord. 

Nadya. Yes, before I ran away from him; now I don't 
want to. [She stands musing] Now I myself don't know what 
has suddenly happened within me ! Just when the mistress 
said, a short while ago, that I shouldn't dare to argue, but 
marry the man she said to marry, just then my whole heart 
revolted. "Oh, Lord, what a life for me!" I thought. [She 
weeps] What's the use in my living purely, guarding myself 
not merely from every word, but even from every look? 
Even so, evil seized upon me. "Why," I thought, "should 

40 A PROTEGEE act m 

I guard myself?" I don't want to! I don't want to! It 
was just as if my heart died within me. It seemed that if 
she said another word, I should die on the spot. 

Liza. What are you saying ! Why, I really thought you 
were coming to the master as a joke. 

Nadya. As a joke ! I can't bear an insult ! I cannot. 
[Silence] Oh, Liza, if life were better, I shouldn't have come 
into the garden at night. You know how it used to be, 
when I would think about myself — I suppose it must have 
come into your head, too — that here you are, an honest girl; 
you live like a bird, suddenly you're fascinated by some man, 
he makes love to you, comes to see you often, kisses you .... 
You're abashed before him, yet happy to see him. That's 
the way it always is. Although you may not be rich; al- 
though it may be you have to sit with your lover in the 
servants' room; yet it is as if you were a queen, just as if 
every day were a holiday for you. Then they marry you, 
and all congratulate you. Well, then, no matter how hard 
married life may be, perhaps there may be lots of work, in 
spite of that you live as if in paradise; just as if you were 
proud of something. 

Liza. Naturally, my girl. 

Nadya. But when they say to you: "Pack off to this 
drunkard, and don't you dare argue, and don't you dare cry 
over yourself!". . . . Oh, Liza!. . . . And then you think 
how that horrid man will make fun of you, will bully you, 
show his authority, will begin to ruin your life, all for noth- 
ing ! You grow old by his side without having a chance to 
live. [She weeps] It breaks your heart even to tell about 
it ! [Waving her hand] And so, indeed, the young master is 

Liza. Oh, Nadya; it would be better if you hadn't spoken, 
and I hadn't listened ! 

scene i A PROTEGEE 41 

Nadya. Stop, Liza! Why are you playing the prude 
with me? What would you do yourself if the master fell 
in love with you ? 

Liza. [Stammering] Well, how should I know ? Of course, 
what shall I say .... the old Nick is strong. 

Nadya. There you are ! . . . . [Silence] Here is what I 
wanted to say to you, Liza. What a strange inspiration has 
come over me ! When such thoughts came into my head, 
and, Liza, when I began to think about the master — then 
how dear he became to me ! .... so dear, that, really, I can't 
tell. . . . Before, when he ran after me, I didn't care; but 
now it's just as if something drew me to him. 

Liza. Oh, my girl! Just think of it; surely this is fate! 

Nadya. And such a spirit came into me, I am afraid of 
nothing ! I feel as if you could cut me to pieces, and still 
I'd not change my mind. And why this is so, I don't know. 
[Silence] I could hardly wait till night ! It seems as if I 
could fly to him on wings ! The one thing that I have in 
mind is that, at any rate, I am not a pretty girl for nothing; 
I shall have something by which to remember my youth. 
[Musingly] I thought to myself: "What a young man, how 
handsome ! Am I, silly girl that I am, worth his loving 
me?" May I be choked here, in this lonely spot, if he does 

Liza. What's this, Nadya? You seem beside yourself. 

Nadya. And I really am beside myself. While she spoiled 
me, caressed me, then I thought that I was a person like 
other people; and my thoughts about life were entirely 
different. But when she began to command me, like a doll; 
when I saw that I was to have no will of my own, and no 
protection, then, Liza, despair fell upon me. What became 
of my fear, of my shame — I don't know. "Only one day, 
but mine!" I thought; "then come what may, I don't care 

42 A PROTEGEE act in 

to inquire. Marry me off to a herdsman, lock me in a 
castle with thirty locks !. . . .it's all the same to me !" 

Liza. I think the master's coming. 

Leonid enters from the opposite side, in a cloak. 

Nadya. Well, Liza, isn't he handsome, ha? 

Liza. Oh, stop ! You're either sick or half out of your 


The same and Leonid 

Leonid. [Approaching] I was thinking you would deceive 
me by not coming. 

Nadya. Why did you think so? 

Leonid. Well, you see, you said you didn't love me. 

Nadya. No matter what girls say, don't you believe them. 
How could one help loving such a handsome fellow? 

Leonid. [Surprised] Why, Nadya ! 

He takes her hand, for a short time holds it, then hisses it. 

Nadya. [In fright withdrawing her hand] Oh! why did 
you do that ? Dear, kind master ! Aren't you ashamed ? 

Leonid. I love you ever so much, Nadya ! 

Nadya. You love me? Well, then, you might give me a 
kiss ! 

Leonid. May I, Nadya ? Will you let me ? 

Nadya. What's the harm in it ? 

Leonid. [Turning about] Oh, and you, Liza, here. . . . 

Liza. I'm going, I'm going. . . .1 shan't meddle. 

Leonid. [Confused] I didn't mean that. Where did you 
get that idea? 

Liza. Oh, don't dodge. We know, too .... 

[She goes out behind the shrubs. 

scene ii A PROTfiGfiE 43 

Leonid. And so you will let me kiss you? [He kisses her 
timidly] No, no, let me kiss your hand. 

Nadya. [Hides her hand] No, no, how could you ! What 
do you mean .... 

Leonid. Why not? I'll tell you what, you are the most 
precious thing on earth to me. 

Nadya. Is that really so? 

Leonid. You see, no one ever loved me before. 

Nadya. Aren't you fooling ? 

Leonid. No, truly ! . . . . Truly, no one has ever loved 
me. Honest to God. . . . 

Nadya. Don't swear; I believe you without it. 

Leonid. Let's go sit down on the bench. 

Nadya. Yes, let's. [They sit down. 

Leonid. Why do you tremble so? 

Nadya. Am I trembling? 

Leonid. You are. 

Nadya. Then, it must be that I feel a bit chilly. 

Leonid. Just let me wrap you up. 

He covers her with one side of his cloak, embracing her 
as he holds it around her. She takes his hand and 
holds it. 

Nadya. And now let's sit this way and talk. 

Leonid. What are we going to talk about? I shall say 
only one thing to you: I love you. 

Nadya. You will say it, and I shall listen. 

Leonid. You'll get tired of one and the same thing. 

Nadya. Maybe you'll get tired of it; I never shall. 

Leonid. Then let me speak. I love you, little Nadya. 

[He rises and kisses her. 

Nadya. Why do you do that? Just sit quietly, as we 
said we would. 

Leonid. Shall we sit like this, with our hands folded ? 

44 A PROTEGfiE act hi 

Nadya. [Laughing] Like that. Hear, a nightingale is 
singing in the thicket. Sit down and listen. How nice it 
is to listen ! 

Leonid. Like this ? 

Nadya. Yes, as we sit together. It seems as if I could sit 
here all my life and listen. What could be better, what 
more could one want? .... 

Leonid. Nadya, dear, that would really be a bore. 

Nadya. What fellows you men are ! You get sick of things 
in no time. But I, you see, am ready to sit out the whole 
night, to look at you, without lowering my eyes. It seems 
as if I should forget the whole world ! 

Tears start in her eyes, she bends her head, and then 
looks at Leonid fixedly and musingly. 

Leonid. Now it would be nice to go rowing; it is warm, 
the moon is shining. 

Nadya. [Absently and almost mechanically] What is it, sir? 

Leonid. To go rowing; I should row you out to the little 
island. It is so pleasant there, on the island. Well, let's 
go. [He takes her by the hand. 

Nadya. [In a revery] Where, sir ? 

Leonid. Where, where? I told you; didn't you hear me ? 

Nadya. Oh, forgive me, dearest master. I was thinking 
and didn't hear anything. Dearest master, forgive me! 

[She lays her head upon his shoulder. 

Leonid. I say, let's go to the island. 

Nadya. [Nestling up to him] Oh, wherever you please! 
Even to the end of the world ! If only with you .... Take 
me wherever you want. 

Leonid. Nadya, you are so good, so sweet, that it seems 
as if I must burst out crying, just to look at you. [They ap- 
proach the boat] Good-by, Liza. 

Liza. [Coming from the bushes, she makes a warning gesture] 



Look out, you two ! [Leonid and Nadya sit down in the boat 
and move away] There, they've gone ! And I must wait here 
for them ! This is awful, simply awful ! At night, in the 
garden, and all alone, too ! What a 6x for me — afraid of 
everything, and .... [She glances about her] Heavens, this is 
deadly ! If there were only somebody here, it would be all 
right, I'd have somebody to talk to. Holy Saints ! Some- 
body's coming! [She looks] Oh, all right; just our old folks 
from the fair. [She hides herself. 


Enter Potapych in an overcoat and a broad-brimmed hat, and 
with a cane, somewhat tipsy; Gavrilovna in an old- 
fashioned bonnet. They sit down on the bench. 

Potapych. No, Gavrilovna, not that. . . .don't say 
that ! . . . . Our lady is so ... . such a kind mistress ! . . . . 
Here, we asked if we could go to the fair, and she said to go 
along. . . . But what they say about her. . . .that I don't 
know: it's not my business, and so I don't know anything 
about it. 

Gavrilovna. Why not let us go, Potapych? You and 
I are not youngsters; we shan't be spoiled ! 

Potapych. You can't let the young folks go, because you 
must have models for everything, Gavrilovna. Whatever 
models a person has in front of him, he may, very likely .... 
most probably .... 

Gavrilovna. Well, why did she let Grisha go ? She said 
she wouldn't; well, and then she ought not to have done it. 

Potapych. Vasilisa Peregrinovna stirred me up a lot on 
Grisha's account a while ago. . . .she stirred me up a lot, 

46 A PROTEGEE act hi 

but I don't know. It's not my business, so I don't know 
anything about it. 

Gavrilovna. What's this you were saying about models ? 
It would be better for her to show a better example herself ! 
As it is, she only keeps shouting: "Watch, I tell you, watch 
the girls!" But what's the use of watching them? Are 
they all babies? Every person has his own brains in his 
head. Let every one think for himself. All you need to do 
is to look out for the five-year-olds, that they don't spoil 
something or other. What a life for a girl ! There's nothing 
worse on earth ! But the mistress doesn't want to consider 
whether a girl gets much fun out of life. Well, does she get 
much ? Say ! 

Potapych. [Sighs] A dog's life. 

Gavrilovna. It surely is ! Consequently one ought to 
pity them and not insult them at every step. As it is, it's 
simply awful ! Nobody trusts them at all; it's just as if 
they weren't human beings. Just let a girl poke her nose 
out, and the guards are on the job ! 

Potapych. But you can't. . . . 

Gavrilovna. Can't what? You can do everything. 
That'll do, Potapych! You're used to saying over other 
people's words like a magpie; but just think for yourself. 

Potapych. But I don't know. . . .1 don't know anything. 

Gavrilovna. You won't gain anything through severity. 
You may tell 'em, if you please, that they'll be hung for such- 
and-such; they'll go and do it anyway. Where there's the 
greatest strictness, there's the most sin. You ought to reason 
like a human being. No matter if our masters pay money 
for their wits while we have only what we're born with, we 
have our own way of thinking, all the same. It's all right 
to lay down the law strictly; but don't always punish a 
fellow who makes a slip; let him off now and then. Some 

scene v A PROTEGEE 47 

bad comes from spoiling people; but now and then you 
can't help going wrong. 

Potapych. Now, if you ask me. . . .what can I answer to 
that? How can I answer you? 

Gavrilovna. Well, how? 

Potapych. Just this: I don't know anything about it, 
because it isn't my business. . . .it's the mistress's business. 

Gavrilovna. Bah, you old idiot ! You've lost your wits 
in your old age. 

Potapych. Why should I .... I, thanks to the lady's kind- 
ness, now in her employ .... I carry out all her orders .... but 
I don't know. 

Gavrilovna. Well, let's go home. She may have thought 
up something or other about even you and me. 

[They go out. 


Liza. [Enters] Alone again ! Where are those precious 
darlings of mine ? I suppose they've forgotten about me ! 
But, then, why should they remember me? Saints alive, 
it'll soon be daylight. This night is shorter than a sparrow's 
beak. How can we go home then ? How brave that Nadya 

Enter Vasilisa Peregrinovna. 


Liza and Vasilisa Peregrinovna 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. What are you doing there, 
dearest ? 

Liza. Can't you see? I'm taking a stroll. 

48 A PROTEGEE act in 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. I see ! How can I help it ? 
But what kind of a night-walk is this? 

Liza. Well, when can we go walking? We work all day 
and wait on the gentry, and we go walking at night. But I 
am surprised at you ! Don't you walk enough daytimes 
that you still want to wander around at night and scare 
people, just like .... 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Just like what ? . . . . Well, say 
it, say it ! 

Liza. What? Oh, nothing. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. No, you said, "Just like" 

well, say it now; just like who? 

Liza. I said what I said. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. No, don't you dare sneak out 
of it ! Come, speak up ! 

Liza. Why did you stick to it? All right, I'll tell you: 
like a spook. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. What, what ! Like a spook ! . . . . 
How do you dare, you dirty hussy, ha ? What's this ! You 
want to push me alive into the grave ! But I'll find your 
lover here, and take you to the mistress. Then we'll see 
what song you'll sing. 

Liza. I haven't any lover ! There's no use in your look- 
ing. Search the whole garden if you want to ! And even 
if I had, it's none of your business ! It's shameful for you 
even to speak of it. You ought not even to know about it: 
you're an old maid. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Sing on, sing on, my dear; 
you sing very finely on the wing; but you'll perch pretty 
soon ! You're not going to roam about at night for nothing. 
I know your tricks. I'll show you all up ! I'm so mad 
now, that even if you bow down to my feet, I'll not forgive 

scene vi A PROTfiGfiE 49 

Liza. Just wait ! I see myself bowing before you ! Don't 
count on it ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. No, now I'm going to look 
around every bush. 

Liza. Do it ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna looks about on both sides, then 
approaches the pond. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Ha, what's this ? Do tell, what 
tricks they're up to ! In the boat ! Hugging each other ! 
How tender that is ! Just like a picture ! You ought to 
have thought to take a guitar along and sing love-songs ! . . . . 
They're kissing each other ! Very good ! Delightful ! 
Again ! Excellent ! What could be better ? Phew, what 
an abomination ! It's disgusting to look at ! Well, my 
dears, you will remember me. Now I have nothing to say 
to you. To-morrow I shall ! [She goes out. 

Liza. What devil brought her here? You can't clear up 
the mess now ! 

Leonid and Nadya reach the shore and disembark from 
the boat. 


Liza, Nadya, and Leonid 
Liza. What have you done, what have you done ! . . . . 

Nadya. [Not listening to her, softly to Leonid] You will 
come to-morrow ? 
Leonid. I will. 

Liza. What's the matter, don't you hear? 
Nadya. If I can't come, I'll send a note somehow or other. 
Leonid. Good ! 

Nadya. Well, good-by. [They kiss. 

Liza. [Loudly] Nadya ! 

50 A PROTEGEE act in 

Nadya. [Goes up to Liza. Leonid sits down upon the 
bench] What's the matter? 

Liza. Vasilisa Peregrinovna saw you rowing on the pond. 

Nadya. Well, deuce take her ! 

Liza. My dear girl, don't carry your head too high ! 

Leonid. Nadya ! [Nadya goes to him] Oh, Nadya, what a 
vile, good-for-nothing fellow I am ! 

Nadya. What do you mean? 

Leonid. Little Nadya ! [He whispers in her ear. 

Nadya. [Shakes her head] Oh, my precious darling, why 
did that come into your head? I'm not sorry for this, but 
you are. How kind you are ! Now, good-by ! It's high 
time. I shouldn't leave you, but I can't help it; I'm not 
my own mistress. 

Leonid. Good-by, then ! 

Slowly, as if unwillingly, they separate. Nadya returns, 
overtakes Leonid and gazes into his eyes. 

Nadya. Do you love me? 

Leonid. I do love you, indeed I do ! 

[They kiss and go out in different directions. 


Same room as in second picture 


Potapych is leaning against the door-jamb, his hand to his 
head. Vasilisa Peregrinovna enters < 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Result of yesterday evening, I 
suppose, my friend? 

Potapych. Wha-a-t? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Your head aches. 

Potapych. Did you put up the money? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. You haven't any money for any- 
thing else; but you have for such things. 

Potapych. Well, anyhow, it ain't your business. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Of course, Potapych, you're an 
old man, why shouldn't you take a drink once in a while? 

Potapych. Sure, I guess I work for it. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Just so, Potapych ! 

Potapych. I'm tired of being lectured by you ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. I wish you well, Potapych. 

Potapych. No need for it! [Silence] But you keep up- 
setting the mistress so ! If you'd only put in a word for us 
when she's in a good humor; but you just look for the 
wrong time, in order to complain of us. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. What do you say, Potapych? 
God preserve me ! 

Potapych. What's that! No matter how much you 

1 The whole scene in a whisper. 


52 A PROTEGEE act iv 

swear, I know you ! For instance, why are you coming to 
the mistress now? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. To wish the benefactress good 

Potapych. You'd better not come. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Why so? 

Potapych. It must be she got out the wrong side of bed; 
she's out of sorts. [Vasilisa Peregrinovna rubs her hands 
with pleasure] Here now, I see that you're happy; you're 
dying for some deviltry or other. Phew ! Lord forgive us ! 
What a disposition ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. You are saying insulting words 
to me, Potapych, insulting to my very heart. When did I 
ever say anything about you to the mistress ? 

Potapych. If not about me, then about somebody else. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. But that's my business. 

Potapych. Your spite's always getting in its work. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Not spite, not spite, my friend ! 
You're mistaken ! I have just been so insulted that it's im- 
possible to live in this world after it. I shall die, but I shall 
not forget. 

Madam Ulanbekov enters. Potapych goes out. 


Madam Ulanbekov and Vasilisa Peregrinovna 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. [Kissing both of Madam Ulan- 
bekov's hands] You have risen early, benefactress. You 
must have an awful lot of things on your mind. 

Madam Ulanbekov. [Sitting down] I didn't sleep much. 
I had a bad dream. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. What, a dream, benefactress? 

scene ii A PROTEGEE 53 

The dream may be terrible, but God is merciful. Not the 
dream, but what is going on in reality, disturbs you, bene- 
factress. I see that; I've seen it a long time. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Bah, what is it to me what's going 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Why, benefactress, don't we 
know that your son, dear little soul ! is struck with every 
creature he meets? 

Madam Ulanbekov. You make me tired. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. I'm so sorry for you, benefac- 
tress ! Don't look for any consolation in this life ! You 
scatter benefactions upon every one; but how do they repay 
you? The world is full of lust. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Go away ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. [Weeping] I can't keep back 
my tears when I look at you ! My heart bleeds that they 
don't respect you, that they don't respect you even in your 
own house ! In your honorable house, in such pious premises 
as these, to do such things ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. [Frowning] You silly crow ! You 
want to croak about something or other. Well, croak away ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Benefactress, I'm afraid it 
might upset you. 

Madam Ulanbekov. You've upset me already. Talk ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. [Glances about in all directions 
and sits down on a stool at the feet of Madam Ulanbekov] 
Yesterday, benefactress, I was ending my evening prayer to 
the Heavenly Creator, and went out to stroll in the garden, 
and to occupy myself for the night with pious meditations. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Well ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. And what did I see there, bene- 
factress ! How my legs held me up, I don't know ! That 
Liza of yours was running through the bushes with a de- 

54 A PROTEGEE act iv 

praved look; it must be she was seeking her lovers. Our 
master, the little angel ! was rowing in the boat on the pond, 
and Nadya, also with a depraved expression, was clinging to 
him with her arms about his neck, and was kissing him. And 
it was easy to see that he, because of his purity, was trying 
to thrust her away; but she kept clasping him about the 
neck, kissing and tempting him. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Are you lying? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. You may quarter me, benefac- 

Madam Ulanbekov. It's enough if there is one grain of 
truth in your words. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. It's all true, benefactress. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Fiddlesticks ! not all — it can't be ! 
You always make up more than half. But where were the 
servants ? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. All of them, benefactress, were 
more or less drunk. No sooner had you gone to bed, than 
they all went to the fair and got tipsy. Gavrilovna, Pota- 
pych, all were drunk. What an example to the young ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. This must be looked into thoroughly. 
Of course, I shouldn't have expected the least mischief of 
Leonid. Quiet lads like him ! Well, if he'd been a soldier, 
it would be pardonable; but as it is. . . . [She muses. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. And furthermore, benefactress, 
so far Grisha hasn't come back from the fair. 

Madam Ulanbekov. How's that? He didn't sleep at 
home ? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. He did not, benefactress ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. You lie, you lie, you lie ! I'll drive 
you off the place ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. May I die in my tracks ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. [Sinking back in her chair] You want 

scene in A PROTEGfiE 55 

to kill me. [Raising herself from the chair] You simply want 
to kill me. [She rings. Enter Potapych] Where's Grisha? 

Potapych. Just came, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Send him here ! [Potapych goes out] 
This certainly beats all ! 

Vastlisa Peregrinovna. You'll not find anybody more 
devoted than I, benefactress; only I am unhappy in one re- 
spect: that my disposition displeases you. 

Enter Grisha, his hair tousled and dishevelled. 


The same, and Grisha 

Madam Ulanbekov. Where' ve you been? 

Grisha. [Noiv opens, now closes his eyes, not sure of his 
tongue, and unsteady on his legs] At the fair, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Just come froi*i it ? [Grisha is silent] 
Why don't you talk ? [Silence] Am I going to get a word out 
of you, or not ? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Answer the mistress. 

Grisha. What's that to you? 

Madam Ulanbekov. Answer me ! Where have you been 
all this time? . 

Grisha. I've done wrong, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. I'm not asking you whether you've 
done wrong or not; I'm asking you where you were ! 

Grisha. [Looks at the ceiling with a vacant stare] Why, 
where should I be ? The idea ! The same place as usual ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. Well, where's that? 

Grisha. I just informed you that I was there all the 
time, ma'am. 

56 A PROTEGEE act iv 

Madam Ulanbekov. You'll drive me out of patience! 
Where's there? 

Grisha. But, really, ma'am ! Your will in everything, 
ma'am. What did I, ma'am .... I've done wrong, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Good Lord ! You're still drunk, I 
guess . 

Grisha. Not a bit, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Nonsense ! I can see. 

Grisha. But, really, ma'am ! One can say anything about 
a man. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Bah, you disgraceful scamp ! He 
still denies it ! This is awful ! This is awful ! Now, speak 
up, where' ve you been? 

Grisha. Why, really, ma'am ! I just informed you, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Were you at the fair all night? 

Grisha. I just informed you so, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. How did you dare, when I let you 
go for only a short time? 

Grisha. Well, really, ma'am ! I did want to go home, but 
they wouldn't let me, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Who wouldn't let you go ? 

Grisha. My friends wouldn't, ma'am. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Who are these friends of yours ? 

Grisha. Why, really, ma'am ! Government office clerks. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Great heavens ! Clerks ! Do you 
understand what kind of people they are? 

Grisha. Who, ma'am, clerks? Understand what about 
them, ma'am ? 

Madam Ulanbekov. And you prowled about with them 
all night ! It would have been better if you hadn't told me, 
nasty scamp that you are ! I know how they act ! They'll 
teach you all sorts of things ! What does this mean ? Be- 
gone ! And don't you dare show yourself before my eyes ! 

scene in A PROTEGEE 51 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Ask forgiveness, you blockhead ! 
Kiss the dear lady's hand ! 

Grisha waves his hand impatiently and goes out. 

Madam Ulanbekov. What an affliction ! It'll simply 
make me ill ! Already I feel my spasms are beginning. What 
a worthless scamp ! He went out just as if he had no re- 
sponsibilities ! And without a sign of repentance ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Ah, benefactress, you see he's 
still a child; he did it just out of stupidity. 

Madam Ulanbekov. No, he needs a good .... 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. What do you say, benefactress ? 
He's still a regular booby ! What can you expect of him ! 
He'll get wiser, then it will be altogether different. 

Madam Ulanbekov. What offends me most is ingrati- 
tude ! It seems to me he ought to feel what I am doing for 
him. I'm positively sick. Go for the doctor ! 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Calm yourself, benefactress: 
as if that rabble were worth your getting upset over ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. Hand me the smelling-salts. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. [Hands her them] Snap your 
fingers at them, that's all. Now, if only those girls .... 

Madam Ulanbekov. Oh, here's another affliction ! Now 
I certainly can't collect my thoughts; I'm completely dis- 
tracted, and now she begins on the girls ! I shall take to 
my bed at any moment. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Lust, benefactress, is beyond 
all endurance. 

Madam Ulanbekov. No, they needn't expect any mercy 
from me. As it is, I forgive one, then another, and so the 
whole crowd is spoiled. [She rings; enter Potapych] Call 
Nadezhda, and come here yourself! [Potapych goes out] 
That's what it is to' be a woman. If I were a man, would 
they dare be so wilful ? 

58 A PROTfiGfiE act iv 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. They don't give a fig for you, 
benefactress, not a fig. They aren't a little bit afraid of 
you ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. They're going to find out pretty 
quick whether I amount to anything. 

Enter Potapych and Nadya. Gavrilovna and Liza 
look through the door. 


The same, Potapych and Nadya 

Madam Ulanbekov. Nadezhda! Vasilisa Peregrinovna 
says she saw you in the garden last night with the master. 
Is that so? [Nadya is silent] You're silent, that means it's 
true. Well, now, you can thank yourself. I'm not a con- 
niver at loose conduct, and I won't endure it in my house. 
I can't turn you out as a vagabond, that would weigh upon 
my conscience. I am obliged to marry you off. [To Pota- 
pych] Send to town and tell Negligentov that I shall marry 
Nadya to him; and let the wedding be just as soon as pos- 
sible. [She rises from her chair and is about to leave. 

Nadya. [Falling at her feet] Whatever you wish, only not 
marriage with him ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. Fiddlesticks! What I have once 
said is sacred. And what do you mean by this scene ? Can't 
you see that I'm not well ? To keep on plaguing me ! Pota- 
pych ! She has no father; you be a father to her instead; 
and impress upon her in fatherly fashion the baseness of her 
conduct, and the fact that she must obey my commands. 

Potapych. You listen, Nadezhda, to what the mistress 
commands ! Because when she intrusts you to me, it means 
that I must show my authority over you. If you command 

scene iv A PROTEGfiE 59 

it, mistress, I can at once, in your presence, give her some 
moral instruction with my own hand ! Here, if you dare to 
say one tiny word to the contrary, I'll drag you off by the 
hair, no matter what any one says. 

[He raises his hand threateningly. 

Nadya. Oh ! . . . . [She crouches. 

Madam Ulanbekov. Don't strike her! What disgust- 
ing scenes ! 

Potapych. But, mistress ! You can't get results by talk- 
ing ! Besides, if I'm her father, that's the regular thing ! 
That's the law, and according to that, since she is rebel- 
ling against you now, I ought to give you that satisfaction. 

Nadya. [Weeping] Mistress, don't ruin me ! 

Madam Ulanbekov. Oh, my God ! You don't spare me 
at all. Tears, squabblings ! Send for the doctor at once ! 
How many times have I got to say it ? It's your own fault, 
you've nobody to blame for your tears. Potapych ! get this 
business over with! I don't like to repeat the same thing 
ten times over. 

She goes out, Gavrilovna after her. Silence. Gav- 
rilovna returns. 

Gavrilovna. She's gone to bed, and banged the door 
behind her. 

Potapych. [At the window] Antoshka! Antoshka! Post 
boy ! Saddle the horse and ride to town for the doctor. 
Oh, you ! Lord ! 

Nadya. [Rising from her knees] Don't you think it's a sin 
for you to abuse me, Potapych ? What have I ever done to 

Potapych. What do I care ? What do I care about you ? 
When the mistress really wants something, I have to try to 
please her in every way; because I was born her servant. 

60 A PROTEGEE act iv 

Nadya. If she had commanded you to kill me, would you 
have done it? 

Potapych. That's not my affair, I can't argue about that. 

Gavrilovna. That's enough, Nadya, don't cry ! God 
doesn't abandon orphans. 

Nadya falls upon Gavrilovna's bosom. 

Liza. [To Vasilisa Peregrinovna] Well, is your heart 
content now? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Wait, my dear, your turn will 

Leonid enters. 


The same and Leonid 

Leonid. What's this? What has happened? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. You made all the trouble your- 
self, and then ask what has happened. 

Leonid. What trouble did I make? What are you con- 
tinually thinking up ? 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Now, don't pretend ! The whole 
truth has come out. You've been having a little fun. What 
of it? At your age, why shouldn't you have? 

Liza. She's reported the whole thing to the mistress. The 
mistress got so angry that it was awful ! And now, sir, she 
is going to marry Nadya to that government clerk. 

Leonid. Are you sure? 

Nadya. The thing's settled, dearest master! I have to 
answer for last evening's sport. 

Leonid. Is mamma very angry ? 

Gavrilovna. No one dares go near her. 

Leonid. But how can that be? Isn't it possible to talk 
her over somehow or other? 

scene v A PROTEGEE 61 

Gavrilovna. Just go and try. No, she won't come out 
of her room now for five days ; and she won't let any one at 
all see her there. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Do you want to talk your 
mamma over ? 

Leonid. Yes. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Do you want me to tell you 

Leonid. Please be so kind, Vasilisa Peregrinovna. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Well, permit me. Our bene- 
factress is very much hurt at Grisha, because he didn't spend 
the night at home: he came in drunk, and didn't even ask 
forgiveness nor kiss her hand. It was this vexation that 
made her sick. And then this Nadezhda happened to come 
her way when she was angry. Now our benefactress won't 
even come out of her room, and won't allow any one to go to 
her, so long as that stubborn Grisha doesn't beg forgiveness. 

Gavrilovna. How contrarily everything happened ! Gri- 
sha will keep up his character, too. Although he is a block- 
head, he has some sense. Now he'll flop down on the hay 
and he'll lie there on his belly for four days. 

Potapych. Somebody ought to take Uncle Gerasim's 
club and dress him down from top to toe. 

Vasilisa Peregrinovna. Now, our dear master, wouldn't 
you like to go present your compliments to him, in order 
that he might hurry up and ask your mamma's forgiveness ? 

Leonid. [Upon reflection] That would be too great an 
honor for him. But see here, Gavrilovna, is mamma actu- 
ally very angry ? 

Gavrilovna. So angry, sir, that it's terrible ! 

Leonid. Well, what's to be done now ! 

Nadya. Why are you bothering? You see, there's noth- 
ing you can do : better leave me ! Now you'll soon go away 

62 A PROTfiGfiE act iv 

to Petersburg; you will be happy: why should you think 
about such trifles, or disturb yourself? 

Leonid. Why, you see, I'm sorry for you ! 

Nadya. Don't be sorry, if you please ! I ran to my own 
destruction of my own free will, like a mad girl, without 
once stopping to think. 

Leonid. What are you planning to do now? 

Nadya. That's my business. 

Leonid. But, you see, it's going to be very hard for you. 

Nadya. What business is it of yours? It will be all the 
happier for you. 

Leonid. But why do you talk like this? 

Nadya. Because you're still a boy ! . . . . Leave me ! 

Leonid. But, you see, he's such a drunken, vile fellow. 

Nadya. Oh, my God ! It would be better for you to go 
off somewhere: out of my sight. 

Leonid. Yes, really, it would be better for me to spend a 
week with our neighbors. 

Nadya. For God's sake, do ! 

Leonid. But Nadya, if it should be awfully hard for you 
to live with your husband, what then? 

Nadya. [Weeping] Oh, leave me alone ! Be good enough 
to leave me alone ! [Sobbing] I beg only one thing of you : 
leave me, for God's sake ! [She sobs. 

Gavrilovna and Liza. [Motioning with their hands] Go 
away ! Go away ! 

Leonid. Why do you drive me out? I guess I'm sorry 
enough for her ! I keep thinking somehow or other, that it 
may still be possible to help her in some way. 

Nadya. [With desperation] I don't want any helpers or 
defenders ! I don't want them ! If my patience fails, that 
pond of ours isn't far off ! 

Leonid. [Timidly] Well, I'll go away if you wish. . . . 

scene v A PROTfiGfiE 63 

Only what is she saying ? You folks, look after her, please ! 
Good-by ! [He goes to the door. 

Nadya. [After him in a loud voice] Good-by ! 
Leonid goes out. 

Liza. And so the old proverb is true: What's fun for the 
cat is tears for the mouse. 




Gordey Karpych Tortsov, a rich merchant 

Pelageya Egorovna, his wife. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna, his daughter. 

Lyubim Karpych Tortsov, his brother, a man who has squan- 
dered his property. 

Afrikan Savvich Korshunov, 1 a manufacturer. 

Mitya, Tortsov's clerk. 

Yasha Guslin, nephew of Tortsov. 

Grisha Razlyulyayev, a young merchant, the son of a rich 

Anna Ivanovna, a young widow. 

> friends of Lyubov Tortsov. 

Egorushka, a boy, distant relative of Tortsov. 
Arina, nurse of Lyubov Gordeyevna. 
Guests, Servants, Mummers, and Others. 

The action takes place in a district town in the house of the 
merchant Tortsov during the Christmas holidays. 

i Vulture 


A small office room; in the rear wall a door; in the corner on 
the left a bed, on the right a cupboard. In the left wall a 
window, and beside the window a table. Near the table a 
chair; near the right wall a desk and a wooden stool. Be- 
side the bed a guitar; on the table and desk are books and 


Mitya is walking back and forth in the room. Egorushka is 
seated on the stool reading "Bova Korolevich." 

Egorushka. [Reads] "My sovereign father, glorious and 
brave king, Kiribit Verzoulovich, I do not possess the cour- 
age to marry him now. Because when I was young I was 
wooed by King Gvidon." 

Mitya. Well, Egorushka, is any one at home? 

Egorushka. [Putting his finger on the place where he is 
reading in order not to make a mistake] Nobody; they've all 
gone driving. There's only Gordey Karpych at home. . 
[Reads] "Whereupon Kiribit Verzoulovich said to his daugh- 
ter" — [Again marking the place] — only he's in such a rage, 
it's awful ! I cleared out — he keeps on cursing. [Reads] 
"Then the beautiful Militrisa Kirbityevna called her servant 
Licharda to her." 

Mitya. With whom was he angry? 

Egorushka. With my uncle, with Lyubim Karpych. On 
the second day of the holidays Uncle Lyubim Karpych dined 


with us; at dinner he got drunk and began to play the fool; 
it was awfully funny. I always get the giggles. I couldn't 
stand it, and then I burst out laughing, and they were all 
looking at me. Uncle Gordey Karpych took it as a great 
insult to himself and very bad manners, and he was furious 
with him and turned him out. Uncle Lyubim Karpych 
made a great row, and out of revenge went and stood with 
the beggars by the church door. Uncle Gordey Karpych 
said: "He has put me to shame," he said, "in the eyes of 
the whole town." And now he gets angry with everybody 
who comes near him, no matter who they are. [Reads] "With 
the intention of advancing toward our town." 

Mitya. [Looking out of the window] Here they come, I 
think. Yes, it's so. Pelageya Egorovna, Lyubov Gorde- 
yevna, and guests with them. 

Egorushka. [Concealing his story in his pocket] I'll run 
up-stairs. [Goes out. 


Mitya alone 

Mitya. Oh, Lord, what misery ! Everybody in the streets 
is having a holiday, and everybody in the houses too, and 
you have to sit between four walls ! I am a stranger to 
all, no relations, no friends ! — And then besides ! — well ! 
I'd better get to work; perhaps this wretchedness will pass 
off. [Seats himself at the desk and muses, then begins to sing. 

"Her beauty I cannot describe! 
Dark eyebrows, with languishing eyes." 

Yes, with languishing eyes. And yesterday when she came 
from mass, in her sable coat, and her little handkerchief on 

scene in POVERTY IS NO CRIME 69 

her head, like this — ah ! — I really think such beauty was 
never seen before ! [Muses, then sings. 

"Where, O where was this beauty born !" 

My work all goes out of my head ! I'm always thinking of 
her ! My heart is tormented with sorrow. O misery most 
miserable ! 

Covers his face with his hands and sits silent Enter 

Pelageya Egorovna, dressed in winter clothes; she 

stops in the doorway. 

Mitya and Pelageya Egorovna 

Pelageya Egorovna. Mitya, Mitya dear ! 

Mitya. What do you want ? 

Pelageya Egorovna. Come up to us later on in the eve- 
ning, my dear, and play with the girls. We're going to sing 

Mitya. Thank you exceedingly, I shall make it my first 

Pelageya Egorovna. Why are you always sitting alone 
in the office? It's not very cheerful! You'll come, won't 
you ? Gordey Karpych won't be at home. 

Mitya. Good, I shall come without fail. 

Pelageya Egorovna. He's going off again, you see; he's 
going off there to that friend of his — what's his name ? 

Mitya. To Afrikan Savvich? 

Pelageya Egorovna. Yes, yes! He's quite gone on 
him ! Lord forgive him ! 

Mitya. Take a seat, Pelageya Egorovna. [Fetches a chair. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Oh, I have no time. Well, yes, I'll 


sit down a bit. [Sits down] Now just think, what a misfor- 
tune ! Really, they've become such friends that it beats 
everything! Yes, that's what it's come to! And why? 
What's the use of it all ? Tell me that, pray. Isn't Afrikan 
Savvich a coarse, drunken fellow ? Isn't he ? 

Mitya. Perhaps Gordey Karpych has some business with 
Afrikan Savvich. 

Pelageya Egorovna. What sort of business ! He has 
no business at all. You see Afrikan Savvich is always drink- 
ing with that Englishman. He has an Englishman as di- 
rector of his factory, and they drink together ! But he's no 
fit company for my husband. But can you reason with 
him ? Just think how proud he is ! He says to me: "There 
isn't a soul here to speak to; all," he says, "are rabble, all, 
you see, are just so many peasants, and they live like peas- 
ants. But that man, you see, is from Moscow — lives mostly 
in Moscow — and he's rich." And whatever has happened 
to him ? Well, you see, it was all of a sudden, my dear boy, 
all of a sudden ! He used to have so much sense. Well, 
we lived, of course not luxuriously, but all the same pretty 
fairly decently; and then last year he went for a trip, and he 
caught it from some one. He caught it, he caught it, they 
have told me so — caught all these tricks. Now he doesn't 
care for any of our Russian ways. He keeps harping on this: 
"I want to be up to date, I want to be in the fashion. Yes, 
yes ! Put on a cap," he says ! What an idea to get ! Am 
I going to try to charm any one in my old age and make 
myself look lovely ? Bah ! You just try to do anything 
with him. He never drank before — really he didn't — but 
now he drinks with this Afrikan. It must be that drink has 
turned his brain [points to her head] and muddled him. . . . 
[Silence] I think now that the devil has got hold of him ! 
Why can't he have some sense ! If he were a young fellow ! 

scene iv POVERTY IS NO CRIME 71 

For a young fellow to dress up and all that is all right; but 
you see he's nearly sixty, my dear, nearly sixty ! Really ! 
"Your fashionable up-to-date things," says I, "change 
every day ; our Russian things have lived from time im- 
memorial ! The old folks weren't any stupider than we." 
But can you reason with him, my dear, with his violent 
character ? 

Mitya. What is there to say ? He's a harsh man. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Lyubov is just at the right age 
now; we ought to be settling her, but he keeps dinning it 
in: "There's no one her equal, no! no!" But there is! 
But he says there isn't. How hard all this is for a mother's 

Mitya. Perhaps Gordey Karpych wishes to marry Lyubov 
Gordeyevna in Moscow. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Who knows what he has in his 
mind? He looks like a wild beast, and never says a word, 
as if I were not a mother. Yes, truly, I never say anything 
to him; I don't dare; all you can do is to speak with some 
outsider about your grief, and weep, and relieve your heart; 
that's all. [Rises] You'll come, Mitya ? 

Mitya. I'll come, ma'am. 
Guslin comes in. 


The same and Guslin 

Pelageya Egorovna. Here's another fine lad ! Come 
up-stairs to us, Yasha, and sing songs with the girls; you're 
good at that; and bring along your guitar. 

Guslin. Thank you, ma'am: I don't think of that as 
work; I must say it's a pleasure. 


Pelageya Egorovna. Well, good-by ! I'm going to take 
a nap for half an hour. 

Guslin and Mitya. Good-by. 

Pelageya Egorovna goes out; Mitya seats himself 
dejectedly at the table; Guslin seats himself on the 
bed and takes up the guitar. 


Mitya and Yasha Guslin 

Guslin. What a crowd there was at the fair ! Your peo- 
ple were there. Why weren't you ? 

Mitya. Because I felt so awfully miserable. 

Guslin. What's the matter? What are you unhappy 
about ? 

Mitya. How can I help being unhappy? Thoughts like 
these keep coming into my head: what sort of man am I in 
the world? My mother is old and poor now, and I must 
keep her — and how ? My salary is small ; I get nothing but 
abuse and insults from Gordey Karpych; he keeps reproach- 
ing me with my poverty, as if I were to blame — and he doesn't 
increase my salary. I'd look for another place, but where 
can one find one without friends ? And, yes, I will confess 
to you that I won't go to another place. 

Guslin. Why won't you go ? There at the Razlyulyayevs' 
it's very nice — the people are rich and kind. 

Mitya. No, Yasha, that doesn't suit me! I'll bear any- 
thing from Gordey Karpych, I'll stand poverty, but I won't 
go away. That's my destiny ! 

Guslin. Why so? 

Mitya. [Rises] Well, I have a reason for this. It is, 


Yasha, because I have another sorrow — but nobody knows 
about it. I haven't spoken to any one about my sorrow. 

Gtjslin. Tell me about it. 

Mitya. [Waving his hand] What for? 

Guslin. Yes, tell me; don't put on airs ! 

Mitya. Whether I tell you or not, you can't help me ! 

Guslin. How do you know? 

Mitya. [Walking toward Guslin] Nobody can help me 
— I am a lost man ! I've fallen wildly in love with Lyubov 

Guslin. What's the matter with you, Mitya ? Whatever 
do you mean? 

Mitya. Well, anyhow, it's a fact. 

Guslin. You'd better put it out of your head, Mitya. 
Nothing can ever come of that, so there's no use thinking 
about it. 

Mitya. Though I know all this, one cannot control one's 
heart. "To love is most easy, one cannot forget." [He speaks 
with violent gestures] "I love the beautiful girl more than 
family, more than race; but evil people forbid me, and they 
bid me cease." 

Guslin. Yes, indeed; but you must stop it! Now Anna 
Ivanovna is my equal; she has no money, and I haven't a 
kopek — and even so uncle forbids me to marry. It's no use 
for you to think of doing so. You'll get it into your head and 
then it'll be still harder for you. 

Mitya. [Declaiming] "What of all things is most cruel? 
The most cruel thing is love." [Walking about the room.] 
Yasha, have you read Koltsov ? 

Guslin. Yes, why? 

Mitya. How he describes all these feelings ! 

Guslin. He does describe them exactly. 


Mitya. Exactly, to perfection. [Walking about the room] 
Yasha ! 

Guslin. What? 

Mitya. I myself have composed a song. 

Guslin. You? 

Mitya. Yes. 

Guslin. Let's make up a tune for it, and we'll sing it. 

Mitya. Good ! Here, take this [gives him a paper] and 
I'll write a little — I have some work: most likely Gordey 
Karpych will be asking me about it. [Sits and writes. 

Guslin takes the guitar and begins to pick out a tune. 
Razlyulyayev comes in with an accordion. 


The same and Razlyulyayev 

Razlyulyayev. Hello, boys ! 

[Plays on the accordion and begins to dance, 

Guslin. What a fool ! What did you buy that accordion 

Razlyulyayev. Why, I bought it to play on, of course 
— this way. [Plays. 

Guslin. Well, that's fine music, I must say ! Stop, I tell 

Razlyulyayev. What! Do you think I'll stop? I'll 
stop when I want to. — What airs ! Haven't I got any 
money ? [Slapping his pocket] It chinks ! If we go on a 
spree — then it's some spree ! 

"One mountain is high, 
And another is low; 
One darling is far, 
And another is near." 

scene vi POVERTY IS NO CRIME 75 

Mitya ! [Strikes Mitya on the shoulder] Mitya, why are you 
sitting still ? 

Mitya. I have some work to do. [Continues to work. 

Razlyulyayev. Mitya ! Say, Mitya, I'm on a spree, 
my boy ! Really, I am. Oh, come on ! [Sings, "One moun- 
tain is high" etc.] Mitya ! Say, Mitya, I'm going on a 
spree for the whole holiday season — then I'll set to work, 
upon my word I will! Haven't I got any money? There 
it is ! And I'm not drunk. — Oh, no, such a spree ! — so jolly ! 

Mitya. Well, go on a spree as much as you like. 

Razlyulyayev. And after the holidays I shall marry ! — 
Upon my word I shall marry ! I'll get a rich girl. 

Guslin. Now, then, listen; how does this sound? 

Razlyulyayev. Sing it, sing it ! I'll listen. 

Guslin. [Sings] 

"Is naught so hard and evil 
As to be fatherless; 
Than slavery more grievous 
And sharper than distress. 

All in the world make holiday, 
But lonely you must pine. 
Your mind is wild and drunken, 
But it came not from the wine. 

Youth shall not do your pleasure, 
Beauty no healing bear. 
Your sweetheart does not comb your locks, 
But your harsh stepdame, Care." 

During all this time Razlyulyayev stands as if rooted 
to the ground, and listens with emotion; when the 
song is finished all are silent. 
Razlyulyayev. Good! Very good! It's awfully sad; 


it takes hold of one's heart. [Sighs] Ah, Yasha ! play some- 
thing cheerful; that's enough of this stuff — to-day's a holi- 
day. [Sings. 

"Who does not love a hussar ! 
Life without love would be sad !" 

Play the tune, Yasha. 

Guslin plays the tune. 

Mitya. That's enough of your fooling. Come, now, let's 
sit down in a circle and sing in a low tone. 

Razlyulyayev. All right. [They sit down. 

Guslin. [Begins to sing; Mitya and Razlyulyayev join 

"Now my young, my young lads, 
You my friends. ..." 

Enter Gordey Karpych; all stand up and stop singing. 


The same and Gordey Karpych 

Gordey Karpych. What's all this screeching ! Bawling 
like so many peasants! [To Mitya] And you here! You're 
not living here in a peasant's hut ! What a dram-shop ! 
See that this sort of thing doesn't go on in the future ! [Goes 
to the table and inspects the papers] Why are these papers all 
scattered about ? 

Mitya. I was looking over the accounts, sir. 

Gordey Karpych. [Takes the book by Koltsov, and the copy- 
book with verses] And this, too, what's this rubbish? 

Mitya. I was copying these poems of Koltsov's to pass 
the time away, since it's a holiday. 

scene vii POVERTY IS NO CRIME 77 

Gordey Karpych. You are sentimental for a poor lad ! 

Mitya. I just study for my own education, in order to 
understand things. 

Gordey Karpych. Education ! Do you know what edu- 
cation is ? — And yet you keep on talking ! You ought to get 
yourself a new coat! For when you come up-stairs to us 
and there are guests, it's a disgrace ! What do you do with 
your money ? 

Mitya. I send it to my mother because she is old and has 
nowhere to get any. 

Gordey Karpych. Send it to your mother ! You ought 
to educate yourself first; God knows what your mother 
needs! She wasn't brought up in luxury; most likely she 
used to look after the cows herself. 

Mitya. It's better that I should suffer than that my 
mother should be in any want at all. 

Gordey Karpych. This is simply disgusting ! If you 
don't know yourself how to observe decency, then sit in your 
hovel ! If you haven't anything to wear, then don't have 
any fancies ! You write verses, you wish to educate your- 
self — and you go about looking like a factory hand ! Does 
education consist in this, in singing idiotic songs ? You 
idiot ! [Through his teeth and looking askance at Mitya] Fool ! 
[7s silent] Don't you dare to show yourself in that suit up- 
stairs. Listen, I tell you! [To Razlyulyayev] And you 
too ! Your father, to all appearances, rakes up money with 
a shovel, and you go about in this Russian smock. 

Razlyulyayev. What do you say! It's new — French 
goods — I ordered it from Moscow — from an acquaintance — 
twenty rubles a yard ! Do you think I ought to go about in 
a bob-tailed coat, like Franz Fedorych at the apothecary's ! 
Why, they all tease him there ! — the deuce of a coat ! What's 
the use of making people laugh ! 


Gordey Karpych. Much you know ! It's hopeless to 
expect anything of you ! You yourself are an idiot, and your 
father hasn't much more sense — he always goes about in 
dirty old clothes. You live like ignorant fools, and like fools 
you will die. 

Razlyulyayev. That's enough ! 

Gordey Karpych. What ? 

Razlyulyayev. That's enough, I say ! 

Gordey Karpych. Clown ! You don't even know how 
to talk straight ! It's simply waste of words to speak to 
you — like shooting peas against a wall — to waste words on 
such as you, fools ! [Goes out. 


The same without Tortsov 

Razlyulyayev. Just look ! How savage ! What a rage 
he's in ! Oh, we're awfully scared of you — you bet we are ! 

Mitya. [To Guslin] There, that's the sort of life I lead ! 
That's the sort of thing I have to put up with ! 

Razlyulyayev. It'll drive you to drink — upon my word, 
it'll drive you to drink ! But you'd better stop thinking 
about it. [Sings. 

"One mountain is high, 
And another is low; 
One darling is far, 
And another is near." 

Enter Lyubov Gordeyevna, Anna Ivanovna, Ma- 
sha, and Liza. 

scene ix POVERTY IS NO CRIME 79 


The same and Lytjbov Gordeyevna, Anna Ivanovna, 
Masha, and Liza. 

Anna Ivanovna. Peace, honest company ! 

Razlyulyayev. I welcome you to our shanty. 

Mitya. Our respects ! Please come in ! What good wind 
brings you here ? 

Anna Ivanovna. No wind — we just took it into our heads 
and came. Gordey Karpych has gone out, and Pelageya 
Egorovna has gone to lie down, so now we are free ! Be as 
jolly as you please ! 

Mitya. I humbly beg you to sit down. 

They sit down; Mitya seats himself opposite Lyubov 
Gordeyevna; Razlyulyayev walks about. 

Anna Ivanovna. It grew dull sitting silent cracking nuts. 
"Come on, girls," said I, "and see the boys," and that suited 
the girls. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. What stories you do make up ! 
We never thought of coming here — that was your idea. 

Anna Ivanovna. Much you didn't ! You were the first ! 
Everybody knows, if a person wants a thing, then he thinks 
about it; the boys of the girls, and the girls of the boys. 

Razlyulyayev. Ha, ha, ha ! Anna Ivanovna, you have 
said it exactly. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Not a bit of it ! 

Masha. [To Liza] Oh, how embarrassing ! 

Liza. Anna Ivanovna, you are just saying what isn't 

Anna Ivanovna. Oh, you modest thing ! I'd like to say a 
word — but it wouldn't be nice before the boys ! — I've been 
a girl myself. I know all about it. 


Lyubov Gordeyevna. There are girls and girls ! 

Masha. Oh, how embarrassing ! 

Liza. What you say sounds very strange to us, and, I 
must say, it's disconcerting. 

Razlyulyayev. Ha, ha, ha! 

Anna Ivanovna. What were we talking about just now 
up-stairs? Do you want me to tell? Shall I tell them? 
Well, have you calmed down now? 

Razlyulyayev. Ha, ha, ha! 

Anna Ivanovna. What are you opening your mouth for? 
It wasn't about you — don't you worry. 

Razlyulyayev. Even if it wasn't about me, still it may 
be there is some one who thinks about me. I know what I 
know ! [Dances to a tune. 

"Who does not love a hussar ! 
Life without love would be sad ! " 

Anna Ivanovna. [Walking towards Guslin] Well, guitar 
player, when will you marry me? 

Guslin. [Playing on the guitar] When I can get permission 
from Gordey Karpych. What's the use of hurrying ! It 
isn't raining on us ! [Nods his head] Come along here, Anna 
Ivanovna; I've got something to say to you. 

She goes to him, and sits near him; he whispers in her 
ear, looking towards Lyubov Gordeyevna and 
Anna Ivanovna. What do you say ! — Really ? 
Guslin. It's really true. 
Anna Ivanovna. Well, then, all right; keep quiet! 

[They talk in a whisper. 
Lyubov Gordeyevna. You, Mitya, will you come to us 
later on in the evening? 
Mitya. I will. 

scene ix POVERTY IS NO CRIME 81 

Razlyulyayev. And I'm coming; I'm good at dancing. 
[Stands with arms akimbo] Girls ! do fall in love with me, one 
of you ! 

Masha. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! What's 
that you're saying ? 

Razlyulyayev. Why such airs! I say, fall in love with 
me, somebody — yes — for my simplicity. 

Liza. People don't talk like that to girls. You ought to 
wait till they do fall in love with you. 

Razlyulyayev. Yes, much I'll get from you by waiting! 

"Who does not love a hussar!" 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Looking at Mitya] It may be 
somebody loves somebody and won't tell ! He must guess 

Liza. How can any girl in the world say that ! 

Masha. I know it ! 

Anna Ivanovna. [Goes up to them and looks now at Lyubov 
Gordeyevna and now at Mitya and sings: 

"Already it is seen 
If somebody loves somebody — 
Opposite the beloved one she seats herself 
Heavily sighing." 

Mitya. Who does that apply to ? 
Anna Ivanovna. We know to whom. 
Razlyulyayev. Stay, girls, I'll sing you a song. 
Anna Ivanovna. Sing, sing ! 
Razlyulyayev. [Sings slowly] 

"A bear was flying through the sky." 

Anna Ivanovna. Don't you know anything worse than 


Liza. We might think you were making fun of us. 
Razlyulyayev. If this isn't good enough I'll sing you 
another, for I'm a jolly fellow. [Sings. 

"Beat ! Beat ! upon the board. 
Moscow ! Moscow ! that's the word. 
Moscow's got it in his head 
That Kolomna he will wed. 
Tula laughs with all his heart. 
But with the dowry will not part. 
Buckwheat is tuppence. It's twenty for oats. 
Millet is sixpence and barley three groats. 

[Turns towards the girls. 
If only oats would but come down ! 
It's costly carting 'em to town." 

See ! What weather ! 

Masha. This doesn't concern us. 

Liza. We don't trade in flour. 

Anna Ivanovna. What are you interrupting for ! Just 
guess this riddle. What's this: round — but not a girl; with 
a tail — but not a mouse ? l 

Razlyulyayev. That's a hard one ! 

Anna Ivanovna. Indeed it is ! — You just think it over ! 
Now, girls, come along! [The girls rise and get ready to go] 
Come along, boys ! 

Guslin and Razlyulyayev get ready. 

Mitya. But I'll come later. I'll put things to rights here 

Anna Ivanovna. [Sings while they are getting ready] 

"Our maids last night, 
Our pretties last night, 

1 A turnip. 


They brewed us a brew of the beer last night. 

And there came to our maids, 

And there came to our pretties 

A guest, a guest whom they didn't invite." 

Anna Ivanovna lets them all pass through the door, 
except Lyubov Gordeyevna; she shuts the door and 
does not allow her to pass. 


Mitya and Lyubov Gordeyevna 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [At the door] Stop, don't be silly ! 
[Through the door the girls are heard laughing] They won't 
let me out ! Oh, what girls ! [Walks aioay from the door] 
They're always up to something. 

Mitya. [Hands her a chair] Be seated, Lyubov Gorde- 
yevna, and talk to me for just a moment. I'm very glad to 
see you in my room. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Why are you glad ? I don't under- 

Mitya. Oh, why ! — It is very pleasant for me to see on 
your side such consideration; it is above my deserts to re- 
ceive it from you. This is the second time I have had the 
good fortune — - — ■ 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. There's nothing in that! I came 
here, sat awhile, and went away again. That means nothing. 
Maybe I'll go away again at once. 

Mitya. Oh, no ! Don't go ! — Why should you ! [Takes the 
paper out of his pocket] Permit me to present to you my 
work, the best I can do — from my heart. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. What is this? 

Mitya. I made these verses just for you. 


Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Trying to hide her joy] Still, it 
may be just some sort of foolishness — not worth reading. 

Mitya. That I cannot judge, because I wrote it myself, 
and without studying besides. 
Lyubov Gordeyevna. Read it. 
Mitya. Directly. 

Seats himself at the table, and takes the paper; Lyubov 
Gordeyevna approaches very near to him. 

"In the meadow no grasses wither, 
And never a flower doth fade; 
However a fair lad fadeth 
That once was a lusty blade. 

He loved a handsome damsel; 
For that his grief is great, 
And heavy his misfortune, 
For she came of high estate. 

The lad's heart is breaking, 
But vain his grief must be, 
Because he loved a damsel 
Above his own degree. 

When all the night is darkened 
The sun may not appear; 
And so the pretty maiden, 
She may not be his dear." 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Sitting and reflecting for some 
time] Give it here. [Takes the paper and hides it, then rises] 
Now I will write something for you. 

Mitya. You! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Only I don't know how to do it 
in verse, but — just plain Russian. 

scene xi POVERTY IS NO CRIME 85 

Mitya. I shall regard such a kindness from you as a great 
happiness to myself. [Gives her paper and pen] Here they are. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. It's a great pity that I write so 
abominably. [She writes; Mitya tries to look] Only don't 
you look, or I'll stop writing and tear it up. 

Mitya. I won't look. But kindly condescend to permit 
me to reply, in so far as I am able, and to write some verses 
for you on a second occasion. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Laying down the pen] Write if you 
wish — only I've inked all my fingers; if I'd only known, I'd 
better not have written. 

Mitya. May I have it? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Well, take it; only don't dare to 
read it while I'm here, but after, when I've gone. 

Folds together the paper and gives it to him; he conceals 
it in his pocket. 

Mitya. It shall be as you wish. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Rises] Will you come up-stairs to 

Mitya. I will — this minute. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Good-by. 

Mitya. To our pleasant meeting ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna goes to the door; from the door- 
way Lyubim Karpych comes in. 


The same and Lyubim Karpych 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Ah ! 

Lyubim Karpych. [Looking at Lyubov Gordeyevna] 
Wait ! What sort of a creature is this ? On what pretext ? 
On what business ? We must consider this matter. 


Lyubov Gordeyevna. Is it you, uncle ! 

Lyubim Karpych. Oh, it's I, niece ! What ? You got a 
fright ? Clear out, never mind ! I'm not the man to tell 
tales. I'll put it in a box, and think it over after, all in my 
spare time. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Good-by. [Goes out. 


Mitya and Lyubim Karpych 

Lyubim Karpych. Mitya, receive unto thyself Lyubim 
Karpych Tortsov, the brother of a wealthy merchant. 

Mitya. You are welcome. 

Lyubim Karpych. [Sits down] My brother turned me out ! 
And in the street, in a coat like this — one has to dance about 
a bit ! The frost — at Christmas time — brrr ! — My hands 
are frozen, and my feet nipped — brrr ! 

Mitya. Warm yourself up, Lyubim Karpych. 

Lyubim Karpych. You will not drive me away, Mitya? 
If you do, I'll freeze in the yard — I'll freeze like a dog. 

Mitya. How could I ? What are you saying ? 

Lyubim Karpych. You see, Mitya, my brother turned 
me out. As long as I had a little money, I strolled about in 
warm places; now I have no money, and they won't let me 
come in anywhere. All I had was two francs and some-odd 
centimes ! Not a great capital ! It wouldn't build a stone 
house! It wouldn't buy a village! What could one do 
with such a capital ? Where put it ? Not take it to a bank ! 
So then I took this capital and drank it up ! — squandered 
it !— That's the way of it ! 

Mitya. Why do you drink, Lyubim Karpych? That 
makes you your own enemy. 

scene xii POVERTY IS NO CRIME 87 

Lyubim Karpych. Why do I drink? From stupidity! 
Yes, from my own stupidity. Why did you think I drank? 

Mitya. You'd better stop it. 

Lyubim Karpych. It's impossible to stop; I've got started 
on this track. 

Mitya. What track? 

Lyubim Karpych. Ah, well, listen — you're a kind soul — 
what this track was. Only you listen, take note of it. I 
was left when my father died, just a kid, tall as a bean pole, 
a little fool of twenty. The wind whistled through my head 
like an empty garret ! My brother and I divided up things : 
he took the factory himself, and gave me my share in money, 
drafts and promissory notes. Well, now, how he divided 
with me is not our business — God be his judge ! Well, then 
I went to Moscow to get money on the drafts. I had to go ! 
One must see people and show oneself, and learn good man- 
ners. Then again, I was such a handsome young man, and 
I'd never seen the world, or spent the night in a private house. 
I felt I must try everything ! First thing, I got myself dressed 
like a dandy. "Know our people!" says I. That is, I 
played the fool to a rarity ! Of course, I started to visit all 
the taverns: " Schpeelen sie polka I Give us a bottle off the 
ice !" I got together enough friends to fill a pond ! I went 
to the theatres — ■ — 

Mitya. Well, Lyubim Karpych, it must be very nice in 
the theatre. 

Lyubim Karpych. I kept going to see the tragedies; I 
liked them very much, only I didn't see anything decently, 
and I didn't understand anything because I was nearly always 
drunk. [Rises] "Drink beneath the dagger of Prokop Lya- 
punov." [Sits down] By this sort of life I soon squandered 
all my money ; what was left I intrusted to my friend Af rikan 
Korshunov, on his oath and word of honor; with him I had 


drunk and gone on sprees, he was responsible for all my folly, 
he was the chief mixer of the mash ! He fooled me and 
showed me up, and I was stuck like a crab on a sand bank. 
I had nothing to drink, and I was thirsty — what was to be 
done? Where could I go to drown my misery? I sold my 
clothes, all my fashionable things; got pay in bank-notes, 
and changed them for silver, the silver for copper, and then 
everything went and all was over. 

Mitya. How did you live, Lyubim Karpych? 

Lyubim Karpych. How did I live ? May God never give 
such a life to a Tatar ! I lived in roomy lodgings, between 
heaven and earth, with no walls and no ceiling. I was 
ashamed to see people. I hid from the world; and yet you 
have to go out into God's world, for you have nothing to 
eat. You go along the street, and everybody looks at you. 
— ■ Every one had seen what a life I used to lead, how I 
rattled through the town in a first-class cab, and now went 
about tattered and torn and unshaven. They shook their 
heads and away they went. Shame, shame, shame ! [Sits 
and hangs his head] There is a good business — a trade which 
pays — to steal. But this business didn't suit me — I had a 
conscience, and again I was afraid: no one approves of this 

Mitya. That's a last resort. 

Lyubim Karpych. They say in other countries they pay 
you thalers and thalers for this, but in our country good 
people punch your head for it. No, my boy, to steal is 
abominable ! That's an old trick, we'll have to give it up ! 
But, you see, hunger isn't a kind old aunty, and you have 
to do something ! I began to go about the town as a buffoon, 
to get money, a kopek at a time, to make a fool of myself, to 
tell funny stories, and play all sorts of tricks. Often you 
shiver from early morn till night in the town streets; you 

scene xii POVERTY IS NO CRIME 89 

hide somewhere behind the corner away from people, and 
wait for merchants. When one comes — especially if he is 
rather rich — you jump out and do some trick, and one gives 
you five kopeks, and another ten: with that you take 
breath for a day and so exist. 

Mitya. It would have been better, Lyubim Karpych, to 
go to your brother, than to live like that. 

Lyubim Karpych. It was impossible; I'd been drawn in. 
Oh, Mitya, you get into this groove, and it isn't easy to get 
out again. Don't interrupt! You'll have a chance later. 
Well, then, listen ! I caught cold in the town — it was winter; 
I stood in the cold, smartly dressed, in this coat ! I was 
blowing on my fingers and jumping from foot to foot. Good 
people carried me to the hospital. When I began to get 
better and come to my senses, my drunken spell was over. 
Dread came over me ! Horror seized me ! How had I 
lived? What had I done? I began to feel melancholy; 
yes, such melancholy that it seemed better to die. And so 
I decided that when I got quite well, I would go on a pil- 
grimage, then go to my brother, and let him take me as a 
porter. This I did. I threw myself plump at his feet! 
"Be a father to me!" says I, "I have lived abominably — 
now I wish to reform." And do you know how my brother 
received me! He was ashamed, you see, that he had such 
a brother. "But you help me out," I said to him, "correct 
me, be kind to me, and I will be a man." "Not at all," 
says he, "where can I put you when important guests, rich 
merchants, and gentry come to see me? You'll be the death 
of me," says he ! "With my feelings and intellect," says he, 
"I ought not to have been born in this family at all. See 
how I live," says he; "who'd ever guess that our father was 
a peasant! For me," says he, "this disgrace is enough, and 
then you must come and obtrude yourself again." He over- 


whelmed me as with thunder ! After these words I went 
from bad to worse. "Oh, well," I thought, "deuce take him ! 
He is very thick here. [Points to his forehead] He needs a 
lesson, the fool. Riches are no use to fools like us ; they spoil 
us. You need to know how to manage money." [Dozes off] 
Mitya, I'll lie down here; I want to take a nap. 

Mitya. Do He down, Lyubim Karpych. 

Lyubim Karpych. Mitya, don't give me any money — 
that is, don't give me much; just give me a little. I'll take 
a nap here, and then go and warm myself a little, you under- 
stand ! I only need a little — no, no ! Don't be foolish ! 

Mitya. [Taking out money] Here, take as much as you need. 

Lyubim Karpych. I need ten kopeks. This is all silver; 
I don't need silver. Give me two kopeks more, that will be 
just right. [Mitya gives them] That's enough. You have a 
good heart, Mitya ! [Lies down] My brother doesn't know 
how to appreciate you. Yes, I'll play a joke on him ! For 
fools riches are an evil ! Give money to a sensible man, and 
he'll do something with it. I walked about Moscow, I saw 
everything, everything ! — I've been through a long course of 
study! You'd better not give money to a fool; he'll only 
go smash ! Foh, f oh, f oh, brr ! just like brother and like me, 
the brute ! [In a voice half asleep] Mitya, I will come and 
spend the night with you. 

Mitya. Come on. The office is empty now — it's a holi- 

Lyubim Karpych. Oh, but I'll play a funny joke on 
brother. [Falls asleep. 

Mitya. [Walks towards the door and takes the letter out of 
his pocket] What can she have written? I'm frightened! — 
My hands tremble ! — Well, what is to be will be ! I'll read 
it. [Reads] "And I love you. Lyubov Tortsov." 

[Clutches his head and runs out. 


Guest-room in the house of Tortsov. Against the rear wall a 
sofa, in front of the sofa a round table and six armchairs, 
three on each side; in the left corner a door; on each wall 
a mirror, and under them little tables. A door in each side 
wall, and a door in the rear wall in the corner. On the 
stage it is dark; from the left door comes a light 


Lyubov Gordeyevna and Anna Ivanovna enter through 
the lighted door. 

Anna Ivanovna. Why don't they come, our fine lads? 
Shall we go and fetch them? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. No, you'd better not. Well, 
yes, if you like, fetch them. [Embraces her] Fetch them, 

Anna Ivanovna. Well, evidently you aren't happy with- 
out him ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Oh, Annushka, if you only knew 
how I love him ! 

Anna Ivanovna. Love him, then, my dear, but don't lose 
your wits. Don't let him go too far, or you may be sorry 
for it. Be sure you find out first what sort of a fellow he is. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. He's a good lad ! — I love him very 
much; he's so quiet, and he's an orphan. 

Anna Ivanovna. Well, if he's good, then love him; you 
ought to know best. I just said that ! Many a girl comes 
to grief because of them. It's easy to get into trouble, if 
you don't use your sense. 



Lyubov Gordeyevna. What is our love? Like a blade 
of grass in the field; it blooms out of season — and it fades. 

Anna Ivanovna. Wait a moment ! Some one's coming, I 
think. Isn't it he? I'll go and you wait, perhaps it's he! 
Have a good talk with him. [She goes out. 

Mitya enters. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna and Mitya 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Who's there? 

Mitya. It's I, Mitya. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Why were you so long in coming ? 

Mitya. I was detained. [Approaches] Lyubov Gordeyevna, 
are you alone? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Yes, what of it? 

Mitya. Lyubov Gordeyevna, how do you wish me to 
understand your letter? Do you mean it, or is it a joke? 
[Lyubov Gordeyevna is silent] Tell me, Lyubov Gorde- 
yevna ! I am now in such perplexity that I cannot express 
it to you. My position in your house is known to you; subor- 
dinate to everybody, and I may say utterly despised by Gor- 
dey Karpych. I've had only one feeling, that for you, and 
if I receive ridicule from you, then it would have been better 
for me never to have lived in this world. You may trust 
me ! I am telling you the truth. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. No, Mitya dear, what I wrote to 
you was the truth, and not a joke. And you, do you love 

Mitya. Indeed, Lyubov Gordeyevna, I do not know how 
to express to you what I feel. But at least let me assure 
you that I have a heart in my breast, and not a stone. You 
can see my love from everything. 

scene ii POVERTY IS NO CRIME 93 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. But I thought that you loved 
Anna Ivanovna. 

Mitya. That is not true ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Really, they told me so. 

Mitya. If this were true, then what sort of a man should 
I be after acting as I have? Could I declare with words 
what my heart does not feel ! I think such a thing would 
be dishonorable ! I may not be worth your regard, but I'm 
not the man to deceive you. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. It is impossible to believe you 
men; all men in the world are deceivers. 

Mitya. Let them be deceivers, but I am not. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. How can one know ! Perhaps you 
also are deceiving me and want to play a joke on me ! 

Mitya. It would be easier for me to die in this place 
than to hear such words from you ! [Turns away. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. No, Mitya, I didn't mean it. I 
know that you love me. I only wanted to tease you. [Mitya 
is silent] Mitya dear ! Mitya ! Why are you silent ? Are 
you angry with me ? I tell you I was only joking ! Mitya ! 
Yes ! Now, then, say something. [Takes his hand. 

Mitya. Oh, Lyubov Gordeyevna, I'm not in a joking 
humor ! I'm not that sort of man. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Don't be angry. 

Mitya. If you love me, then stop these jokes ! They are 
not in place. Oh, it's all the same to me now ! [Embraces 
her] Maybe they can take you from me by force, but I 
won't give you up of my free will. I love you more than 
my life ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Returning his embrace] Mitya 
dear, what shall we do now ? 

Mitya. What shall we do? We didn't fall in love with 
each other just to say good-by ! 


Lyubov Gordeyevna. Well, but what if they promise 
me to some one else? 

Mitya. Look here, Lyubov, one word ! To-morrow we 
must go together to Gordey Karpych, and throw ourselves 
at his feet. We'll say so and so — whatever you please, but 
we can't live without each other. Yes, if you love me, then 
forget your pride ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. What pride, Mitya? Is this a 
time for pride ! Mitya dear, don't be angry with me; don't 
remember my past words. It was only girlish foolishness; 
I'm sorry that I did it ! I shouldn't have joked with you; 
I should have caressed you, my poor boy. [Throws her arms 
round his neck] Oh, but, if father doesn't consent to our hap- 
piness — what then? 

Mitya. Who can tell beforehand? It will be as God 
wills. I don't know how it is with you, but for me life is 
not life without you ! [Is silent. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Some one's coming ! Go away 
quietly, dearest, and I'll come later. 

Mitya goes out quietly. Arina comes in with a candle ; 
Lyubov Gordeyevna goes to meet her. 


Arina, Lyubov Gordeyevna, and afterwards Egorushka 

Arina. Well, you ! You frightened me enough ! What 
are you doing here? Your mother is looking for you there, 
and here you are ! Why are you wandering about in the 
dark ! Oh, you modest maiden ! Fairy princess. [Lyubov 
Gordeyevna goes out] Well, really, wasn't some one there 
with her ? [Looks into the corner] But I'm a silly old woman, 
I suspected some one ! [Lights the candles] Oh, deary me, some 

scene iv POVERTY IS NO CRIME 95 

trouble will be sure to come in my old age. [Egorushka 
enters] Go along, Egorushka, and call the girls in from the 
neighbors; tell them Pelageya Egorovna told you to invite 
them to come and sing songs. 

Egorushka. Oh ! how are you, Arina, my dear ? 

Arina. What are you so happy about, silly ? 

Egorushka. Why shouldn't I be happy ? It's such fun ! 
Ha, ha, ha ! [Jumps about. 

Arina. And maybe the mummers are coming; the young 
people wanted to dress up. 

Egorushka. Oh, I shall die ! Oh, Lord, I shall die ! 

Arina. What's the matter with you, you scamp? 

Egorushka. Oh, I shall die of laughing! Oh, granny, 
I've got such giggles ! 

Arina. Dress up yourself. 

Egorushka. I will, I will ! Oh, Lord ! Oh, Oh, Oh. 

Arina. Now you run along quickly and fetch the girls. 

Egorushka. In a second ! [Goes out. 

Pelageya Egorovna comes in. 


Arina and Pelageya Egorovna 

Pelageya Egorovna. Arinushka, did you send for the 
girls ? 

Arina. I did, my dear. 

Pelageya Egorovna. That's right. Let them have a 
song with our folks, and cheer up Lyubov and the guests. 
This is the time for them to enjoy themselves — while they're 
young. You know what a girl's life is — behind bolts and 
bars, never seeing the world! Now's their holiday! — Yes, 
let 'em have a good time ! 


Arina. Yes, to be sure, to be sure ! Why shouldn't they ? 

Pelageya Egorovna. Bring in some Madeira, Arinushka, 
the oldest we have; and gingerbread for the young people, 
and sweets — whatever you choose ! Attend to it yourself, 
but don't forget the Madeira. 

Arina. I understand, I understand; there'll be enough of 
everything. Directly, my dear, directly ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. And a snack for the young men. 

Arina. Everything, everything will be all right. Don't 
you worry yourself; you join the guests. I'll do everything 
with pleasure. [Goes out. 

Pelageya Egorovna. [Going to the door] Girls, boys, 
come here ! There's more room here and it's lighter. 

Enter Lyubov Gordeyevna, Masha, Liza, Anna 
Ivanovna, Razlytjlyayev, Mitya, Guslin, and 
two Guests. 


Pelageya Egorovna, Lyubov Gordeyevna, Masha, Liza, 
Anna Ivanovna, Razlyulyayev, Mitya, Guslin, and 
two Guests (old women). 

Pelageya Egorovna. [To the old women] We'll sit here. 
[Seats herself on the sofa, with the old women near her; Anna 
Ivanovna and Guslin take chairs and talk quietly ; Mitya 
stands near them; Masha, Lyubov Gordeyevna, and Liza 
walk about the room with their arms round each other; Razly- 
ulyayev follows them] We'll watch them while they play. 

Liza. "Just imagine, mother!" I said, "he doesn't know 
how to talk properly, and he even uses such words that it's 
absolutely impolite." 


Razlyulyayev. Do you mean me? 

Liza. We aren't talking about you; it's no business of 
yours. [She continues] "But why, mother, must I love him?" 

[Speaks in a whisper. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Yes, my friend, I love the good old 
ways. Yes, our good old Russian ways. But there! my 
husband doesn't care for them ! What can you do about 
it? That's his character. But I love them, I'm naturally 
jolly; yes, I love to give a person a bite and to get them to 
sing songs to me ! Yes, I take after my family. Our family 
are all jolly, and love singing. 

First Guest. When I look round, my dear Pelageya 
Egorovna, there isn't the gayety that there used to be when 
we were young. 

Second Guest. No, no. 

Pelageya Egorovna. In my young days I was the merri- 
est sort of girl — always singing and dancing — indeed I was. 
Yes, what songs I knew ! They don't sing such songs now. 

First Guest. No, they don't sing them; new songs have 
come in now. 

Second Guest. Yes, yes, one remembers the old times. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Yasha dear ! Sing us some good 
old songs. 

Guslin takes the guitar. 

Razlyulyayev. [To the girls] So it's no use for me to 
wait; evidently I shan't get any sense out of you. 

Liza. What do you mean by sense? I don't understand. 

Masha. It's ridiculous to listen to you. 

Razlyulyayev. Yes, it's funny for you; but how is it 
for me ? Really, why don't you love me ? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Let's sit down. 
They sit down. 


Guslin. [Sings] 

"Four huts beside the brook 
That swift doth run. 
There is a gossip 
In every one. 

Dear gossips all four, 
My friends that be, 
Be friendly and kindly 
And nice to me. 

When you're in the green garden, 
Take me with you; 
When you pluck flowers, 
Pluck me a few. 

When you weave garlands, 
Weave me some too; 
When you go to the river, 
Take me with you. 

When you throw in the garlands, 
Throw also my wreath; 
The others will float, 
When mine sinks beneath. 

All of the sweethearts, 
They have come home; 
Mine, and mine only, 
He has not come." 

Arina. [Enters with bottles and glasses; and a servant-girl 
with relishes] Here, I've brought them ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. [To the servant] Pass it to the young 
ladies. [The servant carries wine round to the girls, places the 


tray on the table and goes out] Arina ! Bring us some wine. 
Yes, pour it out, pour out the Madeira, the Madeira; it 
will cheer us up. That's all right! Let's have a glass; 
they won't condemn us — we're old folks ! [They drink] 
Annushka ! Come along and drink some wine. Won't you 
have some ? 

Anna Ivanovna. Well, why shouldn't I drink some ! 
They say, don't drink when there's no one round, but when 
there's company, it's all right. 

Goes to Pelageya Egorovna, drinks and talks in a 

Arina. Have you had a drop too much, my boys ? 

Mitya. I don't drink. 

Razlyulyayev. With pleasure ! [He comes up with Gtjslin 
and drinks ; then catches hold of Arina] Now, then, let's start 
an old song. [Sings. 

"Oh, I'll sing an old song, 
Of Erema, of Foma " 

Arina. Stop, saucy; you've crumpled me all up! 
Razlyulyayev. [Sings] 

"The reins were in Kaluga; 
In Tarus' the hames were hid. 
Grooved runners had the sleigh; 
All by itself it slid." 

The girls laugh. 
Arina. Let me go, I say ! Now that's enough ! [Goes out. 
Anna Ivanovna. What are you teasing the old woman for ? 
Come and dance with me. 

Razlyulyayev. Come on, then ! Play for us, Yasha ! 

Yasha plays; they dance. 
First Guest. That's a lively little woman. 


Pelageya Egorovna. Yes, very lively, very lively. 
Razlyulyayev. [Stamping his feet] That's the way we 
do it. [Stops dancing. 

Egorushka. [Enters] The girls have come. 
Pelageya Egorovna. Ask them in. [Egorushka goes out; 
the girls come in. Arina brings in a dish and covers it] Sit 
down and sing the dish songs; I'm so fond of them. 

Lytjbov Gordeyevna, Masha, Liza, and Anna 
Ivanovna take off their rings and put them into the 
dish; the girls sing. 

"Sow the wheat, my mother, and bake the cake for me. 
Glory ! 
Many guests are coming, my lovers for to be. Glory ! 

Your guests will wear bast slippers, but mine have boots 
of hide. Glory ! 

The girl of whom the song is sung, much good it doth be- 
tide. Glory ! 

The girl whose ring is taken out, will find it so without a 
doubt. Glory!" 

Razlyulyayev rolls up his sleeves, takes out a ring and 
gives it to Lyubov Gordeyevna. 
Pelageya Egorovna. High time, high time ! 
Girls. [Sing] 

"In Belgorod a sparrow small, Glory! 
In Belgorod sits on a wall. Glory ! 

In a strange land he looks about. Glory ! 
Her ring and fortune will come out. Glory!" 

Arina. [Enters] The mummers have come; shall I let 
them in ? 

scene vi POVERTY IS NO CRIME 101 

Pelageya Egorovna. Yes, let them in; let them have a 
dance. And you girls can sing afterwards. 


The same and mummers ; an Old Man with a balalaika or 
guitar, a Trainer with a bear and goat, Egorushka with 

Old Man. [Bowing] To all this honest company, greet- 
ing ! 

Trainer. Make a bow, Mishka! [The bear bows. 

Old Man. Do you wish me to sing and dance and amuse 
you, and to limber up my old bones ? 

Pelageya Egorovna. That's all right; yes, dance! Give 
them some wine, Arinushka. 

Arina serves the wine; some of them drink. 

Old Man. Thank you humbly for your kind words, and 
for the entertainment. 

"Our lads, though stripped unto the buff, 
Even so are bold enough. 
Their twelve hands go weaving on; 
Now the web of cloth is done. 
They made kaftans for us here; 
Kaftans do not cost you dear 
When you've grist within your hopper. 
In our purses silver bright 
Will not let us sleep at night. 
And the jingling coins of copper 
For the tavern raise the call. 
Tapster Andrew, quick undo 
The inn-door. We've a kaftan new 


Here to put in pawn with you; 
We won't take it home at all." 

Egorushka. [Dances with the molasses] 

[Goes to one side. 

"Molasses ! Molasses ! 
It simmers so sweet. 
Oh, winter is bitter, 
The frost and the sleet. 

Stormy and snowy, oh, ways choked with snow, 
Unto my darling there's no way to go. 

Molasses ! Molasses ! 

It simmers so sweet. 

Like a little quail my wife 

Sits on her seat. 

And I love her for this, and her praises I tell, 

For she jaunts on so prettily, proudly and well." 

First Guest. Oh, what a fine boy ! Ah ! 
Pelageya Egorovna. Why, yes, my friend, he's still a 
child; but he does the best he can. He's young yet. Come 
here, Egorushka. [Egorushka comes] Here's some ginger- 
bread for you. [Gives it to him; Egorushka bows and goes 
out] Yes, he's still a child; you can't expect much from him ! 
The Trainer leads the bear; the goat dances. 
Old Man. [Sings] 

"We had a little billy-goat, 
And he was clever, too; 
He carried in the water, 
And set the mush to brew. 

He fed Grandpa and Grandma; 
But when he went one day 

scene vi POVERTY IS NO CRIME 103 

To the dark forest seven wolves 
In waiting for him lay. 

And one of them was hungry, 
And many and many a year 

Had he roamed, forever asking 
For goat's meat far and near." 

Trainer. [To the bear] Ask for wine, in honor of the goat. 

[Bear bows. 
Pelageya Egorovna. Arinushka, bring some refreshments 
for the mummers. 

Arina brings them something to drink; they drink and 
Trainer. Now, then, amuse the honorable company. 
Show how the fair young darlings, the fair young girls, pale 
and rosy ones, glance at the young men, and watch their 
suitors. [Bear shows off] And how the old woman goes to 
work, bending, shrivelled; old age has overcome her, the 
years have broken her down. [Bear shows off] Well, now 
bow to the honorable company. 1 

They go out; the Old Man plays the guitar; the other 
mummers dance ; all watch them. Guslin and 
Mitya stand near Lyubov Gordeyevna; Mitya 
whispers something to her, and kisses her. Raz- 
lyulyayev comes up. 
Razlyulyayev. What are you doing ? 
Mitya. What's that to you? 

Razlyulyayev. I'll tell Pelageya Egorovna; just see if I 
don't ! 

Mitya. You just dare to tell ! 

1 0str6vsky is of course reproducing actual Christmas customs. Count Ilya Tol- 
stoy, in his Reminiscences of Tolstoy, tells how his father played the part of the bear 
at the family Christmas party. 


Gtjslin. [Approaching him] Look out for me ! You see 
we'll go away from here together; it'll be dark and the alley 
is lonely — just remember that ! 

Razlytjlyayev. What are you meddling with me for? 
What's the use? I want to marry her, and I'm going to 
make proposals. What are you up to ! Yes, I mean to 
marry her ! 

Mitya. We'll see about that. 

Razlytjlyayev. Do you think they'll marry her to you? 
Not much ! Not if I know it — I've got lots of money ! 

Arina. What a racket ! Stop ! Some one seems to be 
knocking. [All listen] That's true ! They are knocking. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Go and open the door. 

Arina. [Goes out, then returns] He's come back himself ! 
All rise. 


The same with Gordey Karpych and Korshunov 

Gordey Karpych. [To the mummers] What's this rabble ! 
— Get out ! [To his wife] Wife ! Pelageya Egorovna ! Greet 
my guest. [Speaks in a low voice] You've ruined me ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. You are welcome, Afrikan Savvich, 
you are welcome. 

Korshunov. Good evening, Pelageya Egorovna. He, he, 
he ! It's very cheerful here ! We've struck it just at the 
right time. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Yes, here I am with the girls. Yes, 
I'm always with the girls. It's holiday time; I want to give 
my daughter some fun. 

Gordey Karpych. You are welcome, Afrikan Savvich; 
make yourself at home. [Afrikan Savvich seats himself in 
the armchair at the table. To his wife] Turn the hussies out. 

scene vii POVERTY IS NO CRIME 105 

Korshunov. Why turn them out! Who's going to turn 
the girls out. He, he, he ! They'll sing a song, and we'll 
listen and watch them, and we'll give them some money, 
but not turn them out. 

Gordey Karpych. As you wish, Afrikan Savvich ! Only 
I am abashed before you ! But don't conclude from this 
that we are all uneducated — this is all the wife; nothing can 
knock anything into her head. [To his wife] How many times 
have I told you: if you want to have a party in the evening, 
call in the musicians, and have things in good form. You 
can't say I deny you anything. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Well, what's the use of musicians — 
for us old women ? You can amuse yourself with them ! 

Gordey Karpych. There, that's the idea of life she has ! 
It makes you laugh to hear her. 

Pelageya Egorovna. What do you mean? Idea, idea! 
It would be better for you to give your guest something to 
eat. Would you like something, Afrikan Savvich? Some 
wine with us old women ? [Pours out Madeira. 

Gordey Karpych. [Severely] Wife! Have you really 
gone out of your mind ! Hasn't Afrikan Savvich ever seen 
Madeira before ! Order champagne — a half dozen — and be 
quick about it ! Then order lighted candles in the reception- 
room where the new furniture is. That will give quite an- 
other effect. 

Pelageya Egorovna. I will do it myself at once. [Rises \ 
Arinushka, come on. Excuse me, my dear neighbors. 

First Guest. We will come with you, my dear; it's time 
we were going home. 

Second Guest. It's time, it's time ! The nights are dark, 
and the dogs in the lanes are fierce. 

First Guest. Yes, fierce; very fierce ! 

[They bow and go out. 



Gordey Karpych, Korshunov, Lyubov Gordeyevna, 
Anna Ivanovna, Masha, Liza, girls, Mitya, Guslin, 
and Razlyulyayev. 

Korshunov. Let's join the young ladies. Where did you 
pick up such beauties — he, he ! [Walks towards Lyubov Gor- 
deyevna] Good evening, Lyubov Gordeyevna, my beauty. 
[Lyubov Gordeyevna bows] May I join your company ? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. We don't drive any one away. 

Anna Ivanovna. Be seated; you'll be our guest. 

Korshunov. You're pretty chilly to the old man ! It's 
Christmas time now, and I suppose we may exchange kisses. 

Anna Ivanovna. Why be so affectionate ? 

Korshunov. Gordey Karpych, may I kiss your daughter ? 
And I must confess — he, he— I'm fond of this sort of thing. 
Yes, well, who doesn't like it ! He, he ! 

Gordey Karpych. You're welcome to do so; don't stand 
on ceremony. 

Korshunov. Will you give me a kiss, young lady? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. If my father wants me to. 

[They exchange kisses. 

Korshunov. Well now, every one of them, right down 
the line. 

Anna Ivanovna. I suppose so ! I'm not proud. 

Masha. Oh, how embarrassing ! 

Liza. Well, there's nothing to be said; I must say it's a 
treat ! 

Gordey Karpych. [Going up to Mitya] Why are you 
here? Is this your place? "The crow has flown into the 
lofty palace!" 

Mitya, Guslin and Razlyulyayev go out. 

scene ix POVERTY IS NO CRIME 107 


Gordey Karpych, Korshunov, Lytjbov Gordeyevna, 
Anna Ivanovna, Masha, Liza and girls. 

Korshunov. [Seats himself near Lytjbov Gordeyevna] 
I'm not like you, Lyubov Gordeyevna; you didn't even 
want to kiss me, he, he, he ! And I've brought you a little 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. You needn't have taken the trouble. 

Korshunov. Here I've brought you some diamonds, he, 
he ! [Gives them to her. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Oh, they're earrings ! I thank you 

Anna Ivanovna. Show them to us. 

Masha. But they are charming ! 

Liza. And in such good taste ! 

Korshunov. Give me your hand. [Takes it and kisses it] 
You see, I like you very much, he, he, he ! I like you very 
much; well, but you don't like me, I suppose? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Why shouldn't I like you ? 

Korshunov. Why? You like some one else, that's why. 
But you will come to love me! I'm a good man — a jolly 
man, he, he, he ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. I don't know what you are talking 

Korshunov. I say, you will come to love me. Why 
not? I'm not old yet. [Looks at her] Am I an old man? 
He, he, he ! Well, well, there's no harm in that. To make 
up for it you shall wear cloth of gold. I haven't any money ! 
I'm a poor man. I've only got about five hundred thou- 
sand, he, he, he ! In silver ! [ Takes her hand. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Rising] I don't need your money. 


Gordey Karpych. Lyubov, where are you going? 
Lyubov Gordeyevna. To mother ! 
Gordey Karpych. Wait ! She'll come here. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna sits down. 
Korshunov. You don't want to sit by the old man? 
Give me your hand, young lady; I will kiss it. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Gives her hand] Oh, good heavens ! 

Korshunov. What a hand ! He, he, he ! Like velvet ! 

[Strokes her hand, and then puts on a diamond ring. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Freeing her hand] Oh, let me go! 

I don't want it; I don't want it ! 

Korshunov. That's all right; it's no loss to me — it won't 
ruin me. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. But I don't want it. Give it to 
whomever you like. [Takes it off and returns it. 

Korshunov. I gave it to you, and I won't take it back ! 
He, he, he ! 

Enter Pelageya Egorovna, and after her, Arina and 
Egorushka with wine and glasses. 

The same with Pelageya Egorovna, Arina, and Egorushka 

Gordey Karpych. Come now and have a drink. 

Korshunov. All right, Gordey Karpych, give me some- 
thing to drink. And you girls, sing a song in my honor — I 
love to have respect shown me. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Girls, sing a song for him. 

Gordey Karpych. [Uncorks the bottle, pours out cham- 
pagne, and offers it to him] To our dear friend Afrikan Sav- 
vich ! Make a bow, wife ! 

scene x POVERTY IS NO CRIME 109 

Pelageya Egorovna. If you please, Afrikan Savvich, I 
humbly beg you. 

Korshunov takes the glass. 

Gordey Karpych. [Takes the glass] Wife, drink ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. Oh, somehow I don't like this kind 
of wine ! Well, yes ! I'll take just a glass. 

Girls. [Sing] 

"Ah, who is he, our bachelor, 
And who is still unwed ? 
Afrikan's our bachelor 
And Savvich still unwed. 
He jumped on the horse, 
The horse skips to and fro; 
He rides through the meadows, 
And green the meadows grow, 
And flowers blow." 

Korshunov. [Seats himself near Lyubov Gordeyevna] 
That's nice. I like that. Now, then, come here some one. 
[^4 girl comes up, he pats her on the cheek] Oh, you little bright 
eyes ! You girls, I suppose, need a lot to set off your fair 
faces and rosy blushes; he, he, he! But I haven't any 
money ! It will be on me, he, he, he ! Hold out your apron ! 
[He tosses her some small change ; the girl bows and goes out] 
Now, then, Gordey Karpych, tell your wife why we came. 

Gordey Karpych. I told you, wife, long ago, that living 
in this town bored me, because you can't take a step here 
without seeing that the people are absolutely ignorant and 
uneducated. And so I want to move from this place to 
Moscow. But there will be a man there who is no stranger 
to us — our dear son-in-law, Afrikan Savvich. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Oh ! Oh ! What are you saying ! 

Korshunov. Yes, we've shaken hands on it, Pelageya 


Egorovna. What are you afraid of? I'm not going to eat 

Pelageya Egorovna. Oh, Lord ! [Seizes her daughter] 
She's my daughter ! I won't give her up ! 

Gordey Karpych. Wife ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. My dear Gordey Karpych ! Don't 
trifle with a mother's heart ! Stop ! You've fairly stag- 
gered me ! 

Gordey Karpych. Wife, you know me! And you, Afri- 
kan Savvich, don't be uneasy: with me saying is doing ! 

Korshunov. You have promised — then keep your word. 
[Rises, goes to the girls, and speaks to them in a low voice. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Goes to her father] Father, I will 
never take a step against your will. But have pity on me, 
poor girl that I am ! Don't ruin my young life ! 

Gordey Karpych. You're a fool, and don't understand 
your own happiness! You'll live in Moscow like a lady; 
you'll ride in a coach. In the first place, you'll live in the 
city — and not in a wilderness like this ! In the second 
place, these are my orders ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. I dare not disobey your command. 
Father ! [Bows down to his feet] Don't make me unhappy for 
my whole life ! Relent, father ! Make me do whatever you 
like, only don't compel me to marry a man I don't love ! 

Gordey Karpych. I never take back my word. [Rises. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. As you wish, father ! 

[Bows and goes to her mother. 

Korshunov. There, that business is over ! Now, then, 
girls — a marriage song ! 

Girls. [Sing] 

"The flowers in the garden will wither all about me, 
The blue flower in the meadow will be faded and forlorn ; 

scene x POVERTY IS NO CRIME 111 

And so will my darling of the red cheeks without me; 

So rise up early, mother, in the morn. 

You must water all the flowers 

In the dawn and evening hours 

With water very often and with bitter tears in showers." 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Not that, not that ! Sing another ! 

Gordey Karpych. Let's go into the reception-room, Afri- 
kan Savvich. Wife, all of you, come there ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Where can I hide myself ! 

Gordey Karpych. Arina, bring along the wine ! 

Arina. Oh, wait, I can't attend to you now ! My darling 
child ! Girls, my dearies ! Here's the song we'll sing. 

[She sings. 

"Thou art my own, my mother, 
Who grieves t day by day, 
And at night to God dost pray. 
Thou who art so downcast, 
Look but once on her here, 
Thy daughter who was so dear — 
For the last time — the last." 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. For the last time. 

At the end of this song Gordey Karpych and Kor- 
shunov go out; Lyubov Gordeyevna remains in 
the embrace of her mother, surrounded by her friends. 


A small room in the house of Tortsov, furnished with cupboards 
of various sorts ; chests and shelves with plates and silver. 
Furniture : sofas, armchairs, and tables, all very expensive 
and crowded together. Usually this room is used as a sort 
of sitting-room for the mistress of the house, where she directs 
her household, and where she receives her guests informally. 
One door leads into the room where the guests are dining, 
and the other into the inner rooms. 


Arina is seated on a chair near the door leading into the dining- 
room ; near her are several girls and women. 

Arina. [Looking into the dining-room] I didn't expect this, 
my dear friends ! I never thought to see it ! He fell upon 
us like a hawk — like snow on the head; he seized our 
darling swan from the flock of her dear ones, from father, 
from mother, from kinsfolk, and from friends. We didn't 
realize what was happening. What things happen in this 
world of ours ! Nowadays people are double-faced and sly, 
crafty, and cunning. He fairly befogged Gordey Karpych 
with this and that in his old age, and be began to hanker 
after his wealth. They have engaged our lovely beauty to 
a disgusting old man. Now she is sitting there, my darling, 
broken-hearted ! Oh, I'm ready to die ! After I have brought 
you up and nursed you, and carried you in my arms ! I 
cared for you like a little bird — in cotton wool ! Just now 
she and I were talking it over together. "We won't give 
you up, my child," I said, "to a common man! Only if 

scene ii POVERTY IS NO CRIME 113 

some prince comes from foreign lands, and blows his trum- 
pet at our door." But things didn't turn out our way. 
Now there he sits — the man who is going to tear her away — 
fat and flabby ! Staring and smirking at her ! He likes it ! 
Oh, confound you ! Well, now they've finished eating and 
are getting up; I must set to work. 

Rises from her chair; the women go out; Pelageya 
Egorovna comes in. 


Arina and Pelageya Egorovna 

Pelageya Egorovna. Come along, Arinushka, and help 
me to get the table ready. Yes, I'll sit down and rest — 
I'm tired. 

Arina. Of course you are tired, my dear ! Day in, day 
out, on your feet ! You aren't as young as you were once ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. [Seating herself on the sofa] Oh! 
Tell them to send the big samovar to the maids' room — the 
very biggest; and find Annushka and send her to me. 

Arina. Certainly, certainly. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Yes, go along ! Go along ! Oh, I 
can't stand it ! [Arina goes out] My head's fairly splitting ! 
Nothing but sorrow — and here comes more trouble ! Yes, 
yes, I'm worried to death ! Oh, oh, oh ! I'm tired out, 
absolutely tired out ! I've a lot to do, and my head's just 
spinning. I'm needed here, and I'm needed there, and I 
don't know what to begin on ! Really — yes — [Sits and tries 
to think] What a husband for her ! What a husband ! Oh, 
oh, oh ! How can you expect her to love him ! Do you 
think she is hankering after his money ? She is a girl now — 
in the bloom of youth — and I suppose her heart beats now 
and then ! What she ought to have now is a man she can 


love — even if he's poor — that would be life! That would 
be paradise ! 

Anna Ivanovna comes in. 

Pelageya Egorovna and Anna Ivanovna 

Pelageya Egorovna. Here are the keys of the tea cup- 
board. Go along and pour it out for the guests, and do 
everything that is necessary — you know yourself ! I've 
walked my legs off! But you don't mind it; you're young 
yet — yes, go and serve them. 

Anna Ivanovna. I'd just as soon as not. It's no great 
work; my hands won't wear out ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. There — there's the tea in the cup- 
board, in the little red caddy. 

Anna Ivanovna unlocks the door and takes out the 
caddy. Mitya comes in. 


The same and Mitya 

Pelageya Egorovna. What do you want, Mitya dear? 

Mitya. [Keeping back his tears] I — I — • Pelageya Ego- 
rovna, for all your kindness, and for all your consideration — 
even though it may be I am not worth it — seeing that while 
I was an orphan — you never deserted me — and like a mother 
— I will be thankful to you all my life, and will always pray 
to God for you. [Bows down to her feet. 

Pelageya Egorovna. But what are you doing, Mitya? 

Mitya. I thank you for everything. And now good-by, 
Pelageya Egorovna. [Rises. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Where are you going? 

scene v POVERTY IS NO CRIME 115 

Mitya. I plan to go to my mother's. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Are you going for long? 

Mitya. Yes, I asked the master for a vacation, and it's 
most likely that I'll stay there for good. 

Pelageya Egorovna. But why do you wish to leave us, 
Mitya ? 

Mitya. [Hesitating] Why, I just! — You see — I've al- 
ready decided. 

Pelageya Egorovna. But when are you going? 

Mitya. To-night. [Is silent] I thought to myself that I 
shouldn't see you before to-night, and so I came to say 

Pelageya Egorovna. Very well, Mitya, if you are needed 
there — we won't keep you; God be with you ! Good-by ! 

Mitya. [Bows down to the feet of Pelageya Egorovna, 
exchanges kisses with her and with Anna Ivanovna; then bows 
again and waits] Might I be allowed to say good-by to 
Lyubov Gordeyevna? You see we have lived in the same 
house — maybe I shall die before I see her again ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. Yes, you must, you must. Say 
good-by to her, of course ! Annushka, go and fetch Lyubov. 

Anna Ivanovna. [Shaking her head] "One man leads her 
by one hand, another by the other, a third stands and sheds 
tears; he loved her, but did not get her." 


Pelageya Egorovna and Mitya 

Pelageya Egorovna. Oh, Mitya, my dear! What 
trouble we are in ! How can we drive it away — get rid of 
it — I cannot think. It's as if a thunderbolt had struck me ! 
I can't recover myself. 


Mitya. You have no one to blame but yourself for your 
unhappiness, Pelageya Egorovna; you are marrying her off 
yourself, ma'am. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Yes, we are doing it ourselves; we 
are marrying her off ourselves ! Only it's not with my con- 
sent, Mitya ! If I had my way, do you think I'd give her 
up ? Do you think I'm her enemy ? 

Mitya. He's a man — from what I hear — not a very great 
catch ! There's nothing good to be heard of him — except 
what's bad. 

Pelageya Egorovna. I know, Mitya dear, I know. 

Mitya. Well, from all accounts, I must say this, that 
most likely Lyubov Gordeyevna, married to such a man, 
and living far away from you, will absolutely perish — no 
doubt of it. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Oh, don't speak of it to me, don't 
speak of it ! I'm distracted enough about it without your 
saying anything. I've worn my eyes out with gazing at 
her ! If I could only look at her enough to last me forever ! 
It's as if I were getting ready to bury her. 

Mitya. [Nearly weeping] How can such things happen? 
How can people do such things? She's your own daughter, 
I suppose ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. If she weren't my own, then I 
shouldn't be weeping and wailing, and my heart wouldn't 
be breaking over her tears. 

Mitya. Why weep? It would be better not to marry 
her. Why are you ruining the girl's life, and giving her into 
slavery? Isn't this a sin? You will have to answer for it 
to God. 

Pelageya Egorovna. I know, I know it all, but I tell you, 
Mitya, it's not my doing. Why do you keep on blaming 
me ? It's horrible enough for me without your talking about 

scene vi POVERTY IS NO CRIME 117 

it, and you stir me up still more. Mitya, you should pity 
me ! 

Mitya. It's true, Pelageya Egorovna, but I can't endure 
this sorrow. Maybe it's worse for me than for you ! I 
trust you so much, Pelageya Egorovna, that I will open my 
heart to you as if you were my own mother. [Dries his eyes 
with his handkerchief] Yesterday evening, when you were 
having the evening party. [Tears prevent him from speaking. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Well, well, tell me, tell me ! 

Mitya. Well, then, she and I made a compact in the dark, 
that we would go together to you and to Gordey Karpych, 
and beg you humbly; we were going to say: "Give us your 
blessing; we cannot live without each other any longer." 
[Dries his tears] And now suddenly, this morning, I heard — 
and my arms just dropped by my side ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. What are you saying? 

Mitya. I swear it, Pelageya Egorovna, in the name of the 

Pelageya Egorovna. Oh, my dear boy ! What a luck- 
less lad you are, now that I know alii 
Lyubov Gordeyevna comes in. 


The same and Lyubov Gordeyevna 

Pelageya Egorovna. Here, Lyubov dear! Mitya has 
come to say good-by; he is going away from here to his 

Mitya. [Bows] Good-by, Lyubov Gordeyevna! Don't 
bear me any ill will ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Good-by, Mitya ! [Bows. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Kiss each other good-by; it may 


be that God will not let you see each other again. Well, 
never mind ! [Mitya and Lyubov Gordeyevna kiss each 
other; she seats herself on the sofa and weeps; Mitya also 
weeps] Stop, stop your weeping ! You will drive me wild ! 

Mitya. Oh, I'll risk everything now; everything in the 
world! [Goes to Pelageya Egorovna] Pelageya Egorovna, 
are you sorry to marry your daughter to an old man, or not ? 

Pelageya Egorovna. If I weren't sorry, I shouldn't be 

Mitya. Will you permit me to speak, Pelageya Egorovna ? 

Pelageya Egorovna. Speak ! 

Mitya. This is what I have to say: Get her ready and 
put on her warm clothes. Let her slip out quietly; I'll seat 
her in my fairy sleigh, and that's the last of us. Then the 
old man will never see her any more than his own ears ! 
And no matter if I do go to ruin ! I will take her to my 
mother and there we will get married. Oh, just give us 
a chance ! I want some joy in life ! At any rate, if I 
have to pay the price, at least I shall know that I've really 

Pelageya Egorovna. What do you mean? What do 
you mean, you scamp? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. What an idea, Mitya ! 

Mitya. So you don't love me? Or have you ceased to 
love me? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. What you say is dreadful ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. What an idea, you scamp ! Who 
would dare to take such a sin on his soul ? Yes, come to 
your senses ! What are you thinking of ? 

Mitya. Why, I said if you're sorry ! But if you're not 
sorry — then give her to Afrikan Savvich; sell her into 
slavery forever and ever. You'll be miserable yourselves 

scene vi POVERTY IS NO CRIME 119 

when you see her wretched life; you'll come to your senses, 
you and Gordey Karpych, but then it will be too late. 

Pelageya Egorovna. But how could you, without her 
father's blessing? How could you? Judge for yourself! 

Mitya. Certainly, how could we live without a blessing ! 
Then you bless us, Pelageya Egorovna. [Kneels down] and 
Gordey Karpych, it may be — himself , in time — somehow 

Pelageya Egorovna. What can I say to you? I feel 
altogether distracted. — Yes, I'm going out of my mind ! I 
don't know anything ! I don't remember anything ! Yes, 
yes, my head spins. Oh, my darlings, my heart is torn ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Goes to Mitya] No, Mitya, this 
can't be! Don't torture yourself for nothing; stop ! [Raises 
him up] Don't tear my soul ! Already my heart is all 
withered away within me ! God be with you; good-by ! 

Mitya. Why did you deceive me and mock at me? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Don't, Mitya ! Why should I de- 
ceive you? Why? I fell in love with you; so I told you, 
myself. But now we must not go against the will of our 
parents. For it is the will of my father that I should marry; 
I must submit to him — that is a girl's lot. It must be that 
that's the right thing since it was so ordained of old. I 
don't want to go against my father; I don't wish people to 
talk about me and make an example of me. Although it 
may be I have broken my heart because of this — at any rate 
I know that I am acting according to law; no one will dare 
to look me in the face and jeer. Good-by ! [They kiss. 

Mitya. Well, now I know my fate ! [Lyubov Gordeyevna 
seats herself on the sofa and weeps] Good-by ! [Bows to Pela- 
geya Egorovna] Good-by, Pelageya Egorovna, you have 
been my benefactress ! So long as I live I shall not forget 
your goodness and kindness to me; you did not forget the 
orphan in a strange land. 


Pelageya Egorovna. Good-by, my dear; do not blame 
us in any way — that would be a sin for you. God grant that 
you may live happily; we shall not forget you. 
Mitya hows and goes out. 


Pelageya Egorovna, Lyubov Gordeyevna and later 

Pelageya Egorovna. How I pity that boy, Lyubov dear ! 
Oh, my child, oh, dear ! It never entered my head that you 
loved him. How could I guess it, poor old woman that I 
am ! What do I amount to ? There, crying is our business, 
and I haven't any authority over my daughter! But it 
would be a good idea ! I'd enjoy the sight of you in my old 
age. The boy is such an honest fellow, with such a tender 
heart, and he would be fond of me in my old age. And as 
I look at you, my child, how can you help being sad ? And 
I have no way to help you, my darling ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Well, mother, what's the use of 
thinking about what's impossible, and only torturing our- 
selves ? 

Seats herself and is silent; some one knocks; the voice 
of Korshunov is heard, "May I come in?" 

Pelageya Egorovna. Come in, sir. 

Korshunov. [Entering] Ah, there she is, my bride ! 
Where were you hiding yourself ? He, he ! I'll find you, 
I'll find you anywhere. If you please, Pelageya Egorovna, 
permit me to talk confidentially with your daughter about 
our own affairs. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Certainly. [Goes out. 

Korshunov. [Seats himself near Lyubov Gordeyevna] 
What are you crying about, young lady? For shame, for 

scene vii POVERTY IS NO CRIME 121 

shame ! He, he, he ! There ! I'm older than you, and I 
don't cry. [Looks at her searchingly] Oh, well, I know what 
it's about! I suppose you want to marry a young fellow? 
Now, this, my pretty one [takes her hand and kisses it] is just 
girlish folly. Now, just listen to what I'm going to tell you; 
I'll tell you the truth straight out. I don't like to deceive 
any one, and have no need to. Will you listen, eh? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Yes. 

Korshtjnov. Good! Now, we'll begin with this point. 
Will a young man appreciate your love? Any girl will love 
a young man; that is nothing unusual for him; but to an 
old man it is precious. An old man will reward you for your 
love with some little gift, this and that — with gold, and 
with velvet — and there's nothing he won't give you. [Kisses 
her hand] And in Moscow there are lots of nice things in the 
shops ; there are things worth giving ! So it's nice to fall 
in love with an old man. That's number one for you ! And 
then this is what happens with a young and good-looking 
husband. You see they are a fickle lot ! Before you know 
it he will be running after some one else, or some young lady 
will fall in love with him, and then his wife may pine away. 
Then come reproaches and jealousy. And what is this 
jealousy, eh ? He, he, he ! Do you know, young lady, 
what this jealousy is ? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. No, I don't know. 

Korshunov. But I know ! It isn't like a needle prick in 
the finger; it's far more painful than that. You see the 
cursed thing consumes a man. From jealousy people stab 
one another, and poison one another with arsenic ! [Laughs 
spasmodically and coughs] But when any one falls in love 
with an old man, then all is peaceful for his wife. And here's 
something else I will tell you, my dear young lady: Young 
men like to go on sprees; they like gayety and distraction, 


and all sorts of dissipations, and their wives may sit at home 
and wait for them till midnight. And they come home 
drunk, and bully their wives, and swagger. But an old man 
will just sit near his wife; he'll die before he'll leave her. 
And he would like to look into her eyes all the time and to 
caress her and to kiss her hands. [Kisses them] Just like that. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Did your deceased wife love you? 

Korshunov. [Looks at her attentively] And why do you 
ask this, young lady? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. I just wanted to know. 

Korshunov. You wanted to know ? [Rises] No, she didn't 
love me, and I didn't love her either. She wasn't worth 
loving — I took her, poor, a beggar, just for her beauty; I 
took care of her whole family; I saved her father from prison; 
she went about in gold. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Love cannot be bought with gold. 

Korshunov. Whether you love a man or not, you ought 
to show him some regard. They needed money, they had 
nothing to live on; I gave it to them, I didn't refuse. And 
/ needed their love. Had I a right to exact this or not? 
You see I paid money for it ! It's a sin to make com- 
plaints about me. Whoever I love has a good living in the 
world, and if I don't love any one, then he need not re- 
proach me. [He becomes excited and walks about] Yes, I'm 
that man's enemy; he'd better keep out of my sight! My 
words and looks, more than my deeds, shall pursue him ! I 
won't give the man room to breathe ! I — [Stops and bursts 
out laughing] And you really thought that I was such a cross 
man ? He, he ! I said it in fun, for a joke ! I'm a simple, 
kind old man ! I'll dandle you in my arms [hums] ; I'll rock 
you in a little cradle; I'll sing you to sleep. [Kisses her hands. 
Gordey Karpych comes in. 



Lyubov Gordeyevna, Korshunov, and Gordey Karpych 

Gordey Karpych. Ah, so that's where my son-in-law is ! 
We've been looking for you. We've already started in on 
the champagne. Come along to the guests; at our house a 
feast isn't a feast without you. 

Korshunov. I like it here. 

Gordey Karpych. Then we'll order it to be served here, 
and we'll drink it with you. [Walks to the door] Hey, boy, 
serve the wine here! On a silver tray! [Sits down] Now, 
son-in-law, what do you say? 

Korshunov. Nothing. 

Gordey Karpych. How, nothing ? 

Korshunov. Just nothing. 

Gordey Karpych. But don't you really? [Looks at him] 
Can you understand me now? 

Korshunov. Why shouldn't I understand you? 

Gordey Karpych. Now we've had this little spree! So 
now you tell me, what sort of a man I am. Can they appre- 
ciate me here? 

Korshunov. Why should they appreciate you? 

Gordey Karpych. No, tell me this: Isn't everything well 
done here? In other houses a young fellow waits at table 
in a Russian smock, or there's a peasant girl; but in my 
house there's a butler in cotton gloves. This butler is a 
trained man, from Moscow ; he knows all the ways of society 
— where each man should be seated, and what's to be done. 
But how is it at other people's houses ? They collect in one 
room, they sit down in a ring, and sing peasant songs. Of 
course it's jolly, but I consider it's vulgar; there's no style 
about it. And what do they drink in their boorishness? 


Home-made cordials, all sorts of cherry water ! And they 
don't even know that champagne is the proper thing ! Oh, 
if I could live in Moscow, or in Petersburg, I'd make a point 
of following every fashion. 

Korshunov. You don't mean every fashion? 

Gordey Karpych. Every one. As long as my money 
held out, I wouldn't stint myself. You just look out, Lyubov; 
you toe the mark ! Or else your bridegroom — you see he's 
from Moscow — may be ashamed of you. I suppose you 
don't even know how to walk gracefully, and you don't 
understand how to talk as is proper in company. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. I say what I feel, father; I wasn't 
brought up in a boarding-school. 

The butler enters, and gives wine to Korshunov and 
Gordey Karpych. He places the bottles on the table, 
and goes out. 

Gordey Karpych. That's it, son-in-law ! Just let them 
know what sort of man Gordey Karpych Tortsov is ! 
Egorushka comes in. 

Egorushka. Uncle Gordey Karpych, come here, if you 

Gordey Karpych. What's the matter with you ? 

Egorushka. Come, please : there's such a scene ! [Laughs. 

Gordey Karpych. [Approaching] What's the matter? 

Egorushka. Uncle Lyubim Karpych has come in. 

Gordey Karpych. Why did they let him in ? 

Egorushka. It must be that he just took it into his head; 
we can't stop him, anyhow. [Bursts out laughing. 

Gordey Karpych. What's he doing? 

Egorushka. He's turning out the guests. [Bursts out 
laughing] "You're glad to eat another man's bread," says 

he. "I'm also the host," says he. "I," says he 

[Bursts out laughing. 

scene x POVERTY IS NO CRIME 125 

Gordey Karpych. Sh — he's ruined me ! 

[Goes out with Egorushka. 
Korshunov. What's all this about? 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. I don't know. It must be that 
uncle is — Sometimes he takes a notion. 

Enter Razlyulyayev, Masha, and Liza. 


Lyubov Gordeyevna, Korshunov, Razlyulyayev, Masha, 
and Liza. 

Pelageya Egorovna. [At the door] Where is your brother ? 
Where is Lyubim Karpych? What has he done? Oh, 
misery ! 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. He isn't here, mother. 

Pelageya Egorovna goes out. 
Razlyulyayev. There you are ! Lyubim Karpych is 
playing some famous tricks ! Ha, ha, ha ! He's cutting up 
such capers, it beats all ! 

Liza. It isn't at all funny, it's just rude ! 
Masha. I simply didn't know what to do from embarrass- 

They seat themselves on the sofa. Lyubim Karpych 
comes in. 


The same and Lyubim Karpych 

Liza. Oh, good heavens, again ! 
Masha. This is terrible ! 
Razlyulyayev. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Lyubim Karpych. Gurr, gurr, gurr; bul, bul, bul ! With 
the finger nine ! With the cucumber fifteen ! How do, 


friend! [Holds out his hand to Korshunov] My respects! 
I haven't seen you for a thousand years and a day ! How 
are you ? 

Korshunov. Oh, is this you, Lyubim? 

Lytjbim Karpych. [Covering his face with his hands] I'm 
not I, and the horse is not mine, and I'm not a coachman. 

Korshunov. I remember you, brother ! You used to 
roam the town and pick up kopeks. 

Lyubim Karpych. You remember how I used to pick up 
kopeks, but do you remember how you and I used to go on 
sprees together? How we sat through the dark autumn 
nights, and how we skipped back and forth, from the tavern 
to the wine-shop ? And don't you know who ruined me, and 
who turned me out with a beggar's wallet ? 

Korshunov. Why didn't you look out for yourself? 
Nobody dragged you in by the collar, my dear fellow. It's 
your own fault. 

Lyubim Karpych. I was a fool! But, well, you haven't 
much to be proud of ! You raised me to such heights, you 
promoted me to such a place — I've stolen nothing, and yet 
I'm ashamed to look men in the eyes ! 

Korshunov. You're the same old joker as ever! [Turning 
to Lyubov Gordeyevna] You've got a jolly uncle ! For 
old acquaintance sake, we'll surely have to give him a ruble. 

Lyubim Karpych. Sh! It's not a question of rubles 
here ! Pay up your old debts, and for my niece here a mil- 
lion three hundred thousand ! I won't sell her cheaper. 

Korshunov. [Laughing] Won't you come down? 

Lyubim Karpych. Not a kopek ! 

Razlyulyayev. Aha, Lyubim Karpych ! Don't you take 
any less ! 

Gordey Karpych comes in. 

scene xi POVERTY IS NO CRIME 127 


The same with Gordey Karpych 

Gordey Karpych. So you are here! What are you 
doing in my house ? Clear out ! 

Korshunov. Wait a bit, Gordey Karpych; don't turn 
him out ! Why turn him out ? Let him show off and make 
jokes. He, he, he ! 

Lyubim Karpych. It's my brother that's joking, in giving 
his daughter to you, but I'll play such a joke on you as won't 
suit your stomach ! 

Gordey Karpych. This isn't the place for him. Get 

Lyubim Karpych. Wait, brother, don't turn me out! 
Do you think Lyubim Tortsov has come to make jokes? 
Do you think Lyubim Tortsov is drunk? I have come to 
you to ask riddles. [To Korshunov] Why has an ass long 
ears ? Now, then, give us an answer ? 

Razlyulyayev. That's a hard one ! 

Korshunov. How do I know ? 

Lyubim Karpych. So that all may know that he is an 
ass. [To his brother] Here's a riddle for you ! To whom are 
you marrying your daughter? 

Gordey Karpych. That's not your affair! You've no 
business to ask me. 

Lyubim Karpych. And here's another question for you. 
Are you an honest merchant, or not? If you are honest, 
don't associate with a dishonest one. You can't touch soot 
and not be defiled. 

Korshunov. Joke away — but don't forget yourself, my 
dear fellow ! Turn him out, or make him keep quiet. 


Lyubim Karpych. That meant you ! One can see you 
are as clean as a chimney-sweep ! 

Gordey Karpych. Brother, go away quietly, or it will 
be the worse for you. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. [Starting up in a fright] Uncle, 

Lyubim Karpych. I won't be quiet ! Now blood has 
begun to talk ! 

All the domestics and guests enter. 


The same with Pelageya Egorovna, Anna Ivanovna, Gus- 
lin, guests, and servants. 

Lyubim Karpych. Listen, good people ! They are insult- 
ing Lyubim Tortsov, they are driving him away. But am 
I not a guest too? Why should they drive me away? My 
clothes are not clean, but I have a clean conscience ! I'm 
not Korshunov; I didn't rob the poor, I didn't ruin another's 
life, I didn't torment my wife with jealousy. Me they drive 
away, but he's their most esteemed guest, and he's put in 
the place of honor. Well, never mind ! They'll give him 
another wife. My brother is marrying his daughter to him ! 
Ha, ha, ha ! [Laughs tragically. 

Korshunov. [Jumps up] Don't believe him; he lies ! 
He says this out of spite to me. He's drunk ! 

Lyubim Karpych. How out of spite? I pardoned you 
long ago. Tm a man of small account, a crawling worm, 
the lowest of the low ! But don't you do evil to others. 

Gordey Karpych. [ To the servants] Take him away ! 

Lyubim Karpych. [Holding up one finger] Sh, don't touch 
me ! It's an easy life in this world for a man whose eyes 
are shameless ! Oh, men, men ! Lyubim Tortsov is a drunk- 

scene xiii POVERTY IS NO CRIME 129 

ard, but he's better than you ! Here, now, I'll go away of 
my own accord. [Turning to the crowd] Make way — Lyubim 
Tortsov is going ! [Goes, and suddenly turns round] Unnatural 
monster ! [Goes out. 

Korshunov. [Laughing in a forced way] So that's the way 
you keep order in your house ! That's how you follow the 
fashions ! At your house drunkards insult the guests ! He, 
he, he ! "I," says he, "shall go to Moscow; here they don't 
understand me!" Such fools are almost extinct in Mos- 
cow ! They laugh at 'em there ! "Son-in-law, son-in-law !" 
He, he, he! "Dear father-in-law!'* No, humbug, I won't 
let myself be insulted for nothing. No, you come along and 
bow down to me ! Beg me to take your daughter ! 

Gordey Karpych. You think I'll bow down to you? 

Korshunov. Yes, you will; I know you! You want a 
fine wedding. You'd hang yourself if only to astonish the 
town ! But nobody wants her ! How unlucky for you ! 
He, he he ! 

Gordey Karpych. After you've said such words as these 
I won't have anything more to do with you ! I never bowed 
down to any one in my life ! If it comes to this, I'll marry 
her to any man I choose. With the money that I shall give 

as her dowry any man will 

Mitya comes in, and stops in the doorway. 

The same and Mitya 

Mitya. [Turning towards the crowd] What's all this noise? 
Gordey Karpych. Here, I'll marry her to Mitya ! 
Mitya. What, sir? 

Gordey Karpych. Silence ! Yes — I'll marry her to 
Mitya — to-morrow ! And I'll give her such a wedding as 


you never saw ! I'll get musicians from Moscow ! I'll ride 
alone in four coaches ! 

Korshunov. We'll see, we'll see ! You'll come to ask my 
pardon, you will ! [Goes out. 


The same ivithout Korshunov 

Pelageya Egorovna. To whom, Gordey Karpych, did 
you say? 

Gordey Karpych. To Mitya — Yes ! What airs he put 
on! As if I were worse than he! "You'll come and bow 
down!" He lies! I won't go and bow down! Just to 
spite him I'll marry her to Dmitry. [All are astonished. 

Mitya. [Takes Lyubov Gordeyevna by the hand and goes 
to Gordey Karpych] Why out of spite, Gordey Karpych? 
One does not do such things out of spite. I don't want you 
to do it out of spite. I'd rather suffer torment all my life. 
If you are kind enough, then give us your blessing as is 
proper, in a fatherly fashion, with love. Because we love 
each other, and even before this happened, we wanted to 
confess our guilt to you. And now I'll be a true son to 
you forever, with all my heart. 

Gordey Karpych. What, what, "with all your heart"? 
You're glad of the chance ! But how did you ever dare to 
think of it ? Is she your equal ? Remember to whom you're 

Mitya. I know very well that you are my master, and 
that I, because of my poverty, cannot be her equal; but 
however, think as you please. Here I am; I've fallen in 
love with your daughter with all my heart and soul. 

Lyubim Karpych comes in and takes his stand in the 

scene xv POVERTY IS NO CRIME 131 


The same and Lyubim Karpych 

Gordey Karpych. Well, how could you help loving her? 
Your taste isn't bad ! And you'll get plenty of money with 
her, which is fine for a penniless fellow like you — without a 
rag to your back ! 

Mitya. It is so insulting for me to hear this from you, 
that I have no words. Better keep silent. [Walks away] If 
you please, Lyubov Gordeyevna, you speak. 

Lyubov Gordeyevna. Father, I have never gone against 
your will ! If you wish for my happiness, then give me to 

Pelageya Egorovna. Why, why, really, Gordey Karpych, 
why do you keep changing your mind so? Why do you? 
I was beginning to feel happy; my heart was just beginning 
to feel easy, and now you begin again. Do stick to some- 
thing ; otherwise what does all this mean ? Really ! First 
you say to one man, and then to the other ! Was she born 
your daughter just to be a martyr ? 

Lyubim Karpych. [From the crowd] Brother, give Lyubov 
to Mitya ! 

Gordey Karpych. You here again ! Do you understand 
what you've done to me to-day? You've put me to shame 
before the whole town ! If you felt this you wouldn't dare 
to show yourself in my sight — and then you slink in and give 
me advice ! If it were only a man talking and not you. 

Lyubim Karpych. You'd better bow down to Lyubim 
Tortsov's feet, just because he has put you to shame. 

Pelageya Egorovna. That's it, dear Lyubim ! We ought 
to bow down to your feet; that's just it ! You have taken a 
great sin from our souls; all our prayers could never have 
freed us from this sin. 


Gordet Karpych. What, am I a monster to my own 
family ? 

Pelageya Egorovna. You're no monster, but you would 
have ruined your daughter through your own folly; I tell 
you this straight out ! They marry girls to old men who are 
a lot better than Afrikan Savvich, and even so they live 
miserable lives. 

Lyubim Karpych. Permit me ! [Sings] Tum-ty-tum, tum- 
ty-tum! [Dances] Look at me, here's an example for you! 
Lyubim Karpych stands before you large as life ! He went 
along that road, he knows what it is ! And I was rich and 
respected, I drove about in coaches, I played such pranks 
as would never come into your head; and then head over 
heels down. Just see what a dandy I am ! 

Gordey Karpych. No matter what you say to me, I don't 
want to listen; you are my enemy for the rest of my life. 

Lyubim Karpych. Are you a man, or a wild beast ? Have 
pity on Lyubim Tortsov ! [Kneels down] Brother, give Lyu- 
bov to Mitya — he will give me a corner. I was chilled and 
hungry. I was growing old, and it was hard for me to 
play the fool in the cold for a piece of bread; at least in one's 
old age one wants to live decently. You see I've been 
cheating people, I've been begging alms, and have spent it 
in drink. They'll give me work, and then I'll have my 
kettle of soup. Then I'll thank God, brother; even my 
tears will reach to heaven. What if he is poor, eh ? If I had 
been poor, I should have been a man. Poverty is no crime. 

Pelageya Egorovna. Gordey Karpych, haven't you any 
feelings ? 

Gordey Karpych. [Wiping away a tear] And you really 
thought that I hadn't? [Lifts up his brother] Well, brother, 
thank you for bringing me back to reason; I almost went 
out of my mind completely. I don't know how such a rotten 

scene xv POVERTY IS NO CRIME 133 

notion got into my head. [Embraces Mitya and Lyubov 
Gordeyevna] Now, children, say thank you to your Uncle 
Lyubim Karpych, and live in happiness. 

Pelageya Egorovna embraces the children. 

Guslin. Uncle, may I speak now ? 

Gordey Karpych. You may, you may ! Ask for what- 
ever you want, every one of you ! Now I have become an- 
other man. 

Guslin. Well, Annushka, it's our turn now ! 

Anna Ivanovna. Well, now, we'll have a dance; only hold 
your hat on ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. Yes, let's dance, let's dance ! 

Razlyulyayev. [Goes to Mitya and slaps him on the shoul- 
der] Mitya ! For a friend I give up everything ! I loved 
her myself, but for you — I give her up. Give me your hand. 
[Clasps his hand] That's all — take her; I give her up to 
you ! For a friend I don't regret anything ! That's the 
way we do it when it comes to the point ! [Wipes away his 
tears with the lappet of his coat and kisses Mitya] He told 
the truth then; drunkenness is no crime — well, I mean — 
poverty is no crime. I always make slips ! 

Pelageya Egorovna. Oh, yes, here they all are ! [To the 
girls] Now, then, girls, a jolly song ! Yes, a jolly one ! Now 
we'll celebrate the wedding with all our hearts! With all 
our hearts ! [The girls begin to sing. 

Lyubim Karpych. Sh ! Obey orders ! 
He sings; the girls join in. 

"We have done the business; 
All the trade is driven. 
The betrothal we will plight, 
And upon the wedding night 
A fine feast shall be given." 




Valentin Pavlych Babayev, 1 a young landowner 

Lev Rodionych Krasnov, a shopkeeper, about thirty years 

of age 
Tatyana Danilovna (called Tanya), his wife 
Lukerya Danilovna Zhmigulin (called Lusha), her sister, 

an old maid and daughter of a government clerk now dead 
Arkhtp, blind old man, grandfather of Krasnov 
Afonya (Afanasy), invalid boy about eighteen years of age, 

brother of Krasnov 
Manuylo Kalinych Kuritsyn, flour dealer about forty-five 

years of age 
Ulyana Rodionovna Kuritsyn, his wife, sister of Krasnov 
Shtshgalev, government clerk 
Zaychikha (called Prokofyevna), landlady of the lodgings 

taken by Babayev 
Karp, Babayev's attendant 

The action takes place in a district town. 

1 Womanish. 




A room, cheaply papered, shabbily furnished; in the rear two 
doors, one opening on the street, the other leading into an 
adjoining room; the windows are hung with chintz cur- 


Karp is unfastening a valise, and Zaychikha (Prokofyevna) 
is looking out of the window. 

Prokofyevna. Just look, dear sir, how many people have 

Karp. What do they want? Why are they curious? 

Prokofyevna. Every one, dear sir, wishes to know who 
it is that has arrived. 

Karp. They say you're provincials, and you certainly are 
provincials. Well, tell them that it's Babayev, Valentin 
Pavlych, a landowner. 

Prokofyevna. [Speaking through the windoiu] Babayev, a 
landowner. [To Karp] They're asking why you came. 

Karp. On business, of course. Did you think we came 
here for sport ? Much chance there would be for that here. 

Prokofyevna. [Through the window] For business. [To 
Karp] Will you remain long? 


138 SIN AND SORROW act i 

Karp. We certainly haven't come to settle here. We 
may stay two days; not longer, you may be sure. 

Prokofyevna. [Through the window] For two days. [With- 
draws from the window] Now I've satisfied them. In five 
minutes the entire city will know. 

Karp. Your lodging is all right; it's clean. 

Prokofyevna. Certainly it's clean, sir. No great frills, but 
it's clean. Of course there's no great travelling to our town. 

Karp. It isn't on the highway. 

Prokofyevna. Highway, not much ! Yet the best people 
that do come here, lodge with me. I know a lot of the land- 
owners who come here. They are used to me; very few of 
them ever go to the hotel. 

Karp. Because it's so noisy. 

Prokofyevna. Yes, I should say so ! Down-stairs is a 
bar-room; and on market days the noise is dreadful. Please 
tell me, wasn't your master's mother Sofya Pavlovna, the 
wife of General Babayev? 

Karp. Exactly so. 

Prokofyevna. Is their estate called Zavetnoye? 

Karp. Yes. 

Prokofyevna. So, so. I recognized him just now. I used 
to see him as a youngster. He often rode to town with his 
mother, and they would call on me. Does he live in the 
country ? 

Karp. No, we are most of the time in St. Petersburg; but 
now we have come to the country to arrange business matters. 

Prokofyevna. So, so. But is he a good man to deal 

Karp. Pretty good. 

Prokofyevna. Well, thank the Lord ! May He reward 
him ! What business brought you to our town ? 

Karp. Oh, those endless legal matters. Petty business, 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 139 

something to bear witness to; but I suppose he'll waste five 
days over it. 

Prokofyevna. It wouldn't be surprising. Have you called 
on the judges ? 

Karp. Yes, we called on them all. Just now they sent 
us a clerk from court. 

Prokofyevna. They'll probably do it quicker for you than 
for us. If you need anything, knock on the wall, and I'll 
come. [Goes out. 

Babayev and Shishgalev enter at the side door. 


Babayev, Shishgalev, and Karp 

Babayev. So you say, my dear sir, that it is absolutely 
impossible ? 

Shishgalev. [Bowing and continually blowing his nose and 
covering his mouth with his hand] But, believe me, sir, if it 
were at all possible we should have 

Babayev. Maybe it is possible ? 

Shishgalev. Judge for yourself, sir. Now the court ses- 
sion has ended, it is quite impossible to assemble the mem- 
bers ; to-morrow is a holiday — then comes Saturday and then 

Babayev. Just think, my dear sir, how you are treating 

Shishgalev. How am I to blame? I'm the humblest 
sort of man. 

Babayev. But, my dear sir, what shall I do here for the 
next four days ? It is dreadful ! 

Shishgalev. You can look around, sir, and take a glance 
at our city. 

140 SIN AND SORROW act i 

Karp. What's the use of looking at it? What is there to 
see here ? I suppose you'll say that St. Petersburg is not as 
fine a city as yours. 

Bab aye v. Have you any kind of social life? 

Shishgalev. I beg pardon, sir? 

Babayev. I said, have you any social life, any sort of club, 
entertainment with music, or parties ? 

Shishgalev. No, we haven't. 

Babayev. But where do the members of the court and the 
rest of them spend their time? 

Shishgalev. They usually spend it together. 

Babayev. How together ? 

Shishgalev. Every day is assigned. For instance, to-day 
they are with the prefect, to-morrow with the judge, day after 
to-morrow with the attorney; then with the farmer of the 
spirit tax, and next with the retired police captain — and so all 
the week goes by. 

Babayev. At what time do they meet? 

Shishgalev. About six o'clock. 

Babayev. What do they do then? 

Shishgalev. They play preference. 

Babayev. And what else, certainly not only preference? 

Shishgalev. That's the truth, just preference. But usu- 
ally they have tables with drinks and refreshments — just as 
it should be. They play, and then they take a bite, and so 
they pass the time. 

Babayev. And do they all drink, from six o'clock on ? 

Shishgalev. Oh, no, by no means ! Only the dealer, or 
some one who has to pay a fine. 

Babayev. Then, my dear sir, I can't help it. I've got to 

Shishgalev. Just wait awhile, sir. On Monday you will 

scene in SIN AND SORROW 141 

please appear in court, and we'll arrange the matter without 

Babayev. Very well, I will be in court on Monday. But 
you'll have some writing to do for me. Then I'll give you 
— as is proper — I don't like any one to labor for me for 

Shishgalev. My family is large, Your Honor 

Babayev. What's that? 

Shishgalev. Do have the kindness to bestow a little 

Babayev. Really, I don't know; how's that? How much 
do you want ? 

Karp. Give him one ruble, sir; that'll be enough for him. 

Babayev. [Giving the money] Here you are — I'm really 

Shishgalev. [Depositing the coin in his pocket] Not at all. 
I thank you heartily; I wish you all good fortune. [Goes out 


Babayev and Karp 

Babayev. How rude you are, Karp. 

Karp. If you begin to be sentimental with 'em, sir, they'll 
get the habit of calling around here and bewailing their fate. 
No amount of money will suffice 'em. They're a godless 

Babayev. Well, what'll I do? I'd like to go for a walk, 
but it's still hot. Karp, what shall I do ? 

Karp. I'll tell you what, go to sleep; after travelling it's 
a good thing. 

Babayev. But what shall I do at night? 

142 SIN AND SORROW acti 

Karp. At night just the same. They say people sleep 
when they're bored. 

Babayev. How stupid I was not to bring any books. If 
I only had some frivolous intrigue to amuse myself with for 
four days. [Goes out through the side door. 

Karp. So that's what you wish ! An intrigue ! That's 
his style ! He was his mother's spoiled darling and he was 
raised with young ladies and in the housemaids' room, 
and he has a hankering for that kind of thing now. Since 
I've lived in St. Petersburg with him, what things I have 
seen; it was shameful! I wonder if he's asleep? I'd like 
to have a nap. [He's about to lie down when the door opens] 
Who's that? 

Lukerya comes in. 


Karp and Lukerya 

Karp. What do you want? 

Lukerya. Valentin Pavlych. 

Karp. What do you want of him ? 

Lukerya. If I want to see him, of course it must be 

Karp. Do you want help of some sort? 

Lukerya. How rude ! Aren't you aware that the Zhmi- 
gulin ladies were always welcome at the home of your mas- 
ter's mother? I am also very intimately acquainted with 
Valentin Pavlych. 

Karp. You are? I doubt it. 

Lukerya. Maybe you stupidly misunderstand my words 
in some way that's beyond me. [Sits down] Your business is 
to go right off and announce me. 

Karp. I tell you he's asleep now. 

scene v SIN AND SORROW 143 

Lukerya. That can't be, because I've just seen him 
through the window. 

Karp. Well, I see I can't do anything with you; I'll have 
to announce you. [Goes out. 

Lukerya. In these modern times, these new changes have 
done a lot to spoil people. He ought to have found out first 
what my rank was, and then treated me accordingly. And 
it's not his business whether I came to ask for aid or not. 
To be sure, people of our station are often engaged in that, 
but not all. Maybe Valentin Pavlych has become so proud 
since he has lived in St. Petersburg that he will not wish 
to see me. But I'm so anxious to show every one here what 
acquaintances we have. I think he didn't disdain us for- 
merly, especially sister Tanya. 
Babayev comes in. 


Babayev and Lukerya 

Babayev. Whom have I the honor of addressing? 

Lukerya. I hardly expected, Valentin Pavlych, that you 
would so soon forget old acquaintances. 

Babayev. Be seated, please. [Both sit down] I somehow 
do not recall. 

Lukerya. Of course, nowadays feelings are not in vogue; 
now it's all a matter of calculation; but we provincials aren't 
like you in St. Petersburg; we remember our former acquain- 
tances, and especially our benefactors. 

Babayev. I agree with you — benefactors should always 
be remembered. 

Lukerya. We are so indebted to your mother that words 
fail me to express it. She did so much for the Zhmigulin 

144 SIN AND SORROW act i 

Babayev. The Zhmigulins? 

Lukerya. Especially for sister Tanya and me. 

Babayev. [Rising] Tanya — Tatyana Danilovna? 

Lukerya. Do you remember, now? 

Babayev. So you are her sister? 

Lukerya. Lukerya Danilovna Zhmigulin. 

Babayev. Pardon me, I beg of you. 

Lukerya. I'm not in the least offended because you re- 
member my sister more readily than you do me. She's so 
beautiful that it's impossible to forget her. 

Babayev. Yes, yes, she was an exceedingly beautiful girl; 
we were great friends. 

Lukerya. I'm aware of that. Who should know it if 
not I ? Being the elder sister I had to care for the younger. 

Babayev. Yes, yes, to be sure. Tell me, if you please, 
where is she now ? What is she doing ? 

Lukerya. She's here in the city, married. 

Babayev. Married? Does she live happily? 

Lukerya. Judge for yourself. She lives in poverty among 
stupid, ignorant people. It isn't as it was in your mother's 
house at Zavetnoye. That was an earthly paradise ! Your 
mother was the kindest of ladies, and liked to have every- 
body happy at her house. There were always lots of young 
ladies in her house, and likewise young gentlemen, and they 
played games from morning till night. She made even the 
chambermaids play tag with us and other games, and she 
looked on and enjoyed it. 

Babayev. Yes, yes, it was but a short time ago. It's no 
more than three years since I left for St. Petersburg. 

Lukerya. I remember it very well. You left three years 
ago last carnival time. Your mother didn't like any of her 
guests to be moody or to read books. She would say: "Why, 
you're spoiling everybody's spirits." Every one was madly 

scene v SIN AND SORROW 145 

gay for her sake, but in the midst of all that gayety anybody 
who had a keen eye could see quite a little. 

Babayev. Nothing more natural ! Men, girls, and young 
ladies continually together — of course they couldn't help 
falling in love. 

Lukerya. You were especially strong in that line. You 
were continually with Tanya, and you never left her, so they 
called you the "doves." 

Babayev. One's heart's not a stone, Lukerya Danilovna. 
Even you yourself — do you remember the surveyor? 

Lukerya. He isn't worth remembering. Later on he 
behaved in a very ungentlemanly way to me. But fate has 
punished him for his lack of courtesy towards a girl of noble 
birth. He's now in jail for being drunk and disorderly. 

Babayev. Kindly tell me' how it happened that your sister 
married ? 

Lukerya. When your mamma died last summer we had 
absolutely no one left to help us. Our papa in his old age 
was of no account in the city. He was a timid man, and 
so he didn't get on well. Our father was a clerk in the Chan- 
cery Office, and he received a salary of thirty rubles a year. 
How could we live on such a sum ? And yet we saw some- 
thing of society. At first we were hardly ever at home, and 
your mamma aided us in many ways. Suddenly all that 
stopped, and soon our father died. At that time Tanya re- 
ceived an offer from — I'm almost ashamed to tell you. 

Babayev. Why, what are you ashamed of? 

Lukerya. You are receiving me so graciously, and your 
interest in my sister makes me feel that our actions have 
been very uncivil. 

Babayev. That can't be helped. Probably it was all due 
to circumstances. What are you to blame for ? 

Lukerya. You can hardly imagine the degree of embar- 

146 SIN AND SORROW act i 

rassment this relationship causes me. In a word, our cir- 
cumstances were such that she was forced to marry a petty 

Babayev. A petty shopkeeper? What kind of shop has 

Lukerya. A vegetable shop. You can see it from here, 
the sign reads, "Lev Krasnov." 

Babayev. Yes, I noticed it. Is he a good man? 

Lukerya. Considering the type, he's a very nice man, 
and he loves sister very dearly. Yet there is something so 
inherently bad about his calling that, judge as you will, he's 
still not very far removed from a peasant. That trait of 
character, if you boil a man for seven years in a kettle, you 
cannot boil out. Yet I must give him credit for taking good 
care of his house. He doesn't give himself any rest day or 
night; he toils hard all the time. As for my sister, he's willing 
to give her whatever her heart desires, even his last kopek, 
just to please her, so that she does absolutely nothing, and 
lives like a lady. But Ins manners are boorish, and his con- 
versation embarrasses us very much. Altogether this is 
not the kind of happiness I wished for Tanya. Judging by 
her beauty and the standing of her former admirers, she 
should now be riding in a carriage. As it is, necessity has 
forced her to marry a peasant, almost for a crust of bread, 
and to blush for him whenever she sees anybody. 

Babayev. So Tatyana Danilovna has married — I'm sorry. 

Lukerya. You needn't feel sorry. She's no match for 

Babayev. Of course. — Here I am in this city, and owing 
to circumstances I'm forced to remain at least four days, 
and maybe more. What am I going to do ? I'm very much 
d1 eased that vou have called on me. If it hadn't been for 
you I don't know what I should have done with myself. 

scene v SIN AND SORROW 147 

Now, just imagine, if your sister weren't married, we'd spend 
these four days so that we shouldn't know how the time was 
passing. [Takes her by the hand] Isn't that true? 

Lukerya. Who's keeping you from that now ? 

Babayev. Well, you see it's awkward; being married, 
what will her husband think ? It's really provoking. 

Lukerya. You don't mean it ! It seems to me that you 
used to have different opinions on such things. You weren't 
so anxious to know what pleased the husbands and what 

Babayev. Yes, but that was in an entirely different social 
circle. There manners are much more free. 

Lukerya. How do you know whether my sister has free- 
dom or hasn't? 

Babayev. [Taking both her hands] At all events, I'm so 
glad, so thankful to you for furnishing me with diversion 
when I was bored. Don't you want something? Be good 
enough to make yourself at home; everything is at your 
service. Will you have some tea? 

Lukerya. Thank you, I've just had tea. But I must 
hurry home now. I have to attend to some matters with 
sister. Shall I extend her your greetings ? 

Babayev. Please be so kind. 

Lukerya. [Going to the door] Why don't you invite sister 
and me to call on you? 

Babayev. I should be so happy to have you, only I really 
don't know how to arrange it. I should like very much to 
see Tatyana Danilovna. 

Lukerya. If you wish to see her, then where's the ob- 
stacle? She isn't a princess imprisoned behind ten locks. 
You'll go for a walk, no doubt, as you can't remain in your 
room ? 

148 SIN AND SORROW acti 

Babayev. I should like to go, but I hardly know in what 

Lukerya. You needn't go far. Stroll out of the rear 
gate to the river-bank, sit down on the bench and enjoy the 
beauty of nature. It's a quiet, secluded place; few people 
ever go there. It's a most delightful walk for sentimental 
young people. Sister and I will go that way, and there you 
may be able to see her. Good day ! [She goes out. 

Babayev. What a surprise ! Could I have expected such 
good fortune ? Little Tanya, little Tanya ! I shall see her 
again ! I'll go mad with joy. She was so charming, so deli- 
cate. Some people said that she didn't have much sense, 
but is that a fault in a woman ? And then her beauty, her 
beauty! It's likely that instead of four days I'll stay four 
weeks. [Goes out. 


The bank of a river; at one side a fence and gate, at the other 
a corner of a barn; beyond the river stretches the country- 
side ; sunset. 


Enter Arkhip and Afonya 

Afonya. Grandfather, let's rest here awhile. I feel ill 
to-day. Sit down here on the bench. 

Arkhip. Very well, Afonya, we'll sit down here. You 
and I are unfortunate: age is overcoming me and sickness 

Afonya. I'm not ailing. I was born so. Grandfather, 
I shan't live long in this bright world. 

scene i SIN AND SORROW 149 

Arkhip. Don't listen to old wives' tales. No one knows 
what fate awaits him. 

Afonya. What do I care for old wives ! I know that I 
shall not live long. My appetite is failing. Others have such 
hearty appetites after working. They eat a whole lot and 
want more. There's brother Lev, when he's tired — just 
keep giving him food. But I don't care if I never eat at all. 
My soul won't take anything. I just swallow a crust — and 
am satisfied. 

Arkhip. That helps growth. 

Afonya. No, it doesn't. Why should I grow any more, 
anyhow ! As it is, I am tall for my age. But it's a sign that 
I shall not live. Just listen, grandfather; a man who is 
alive thinks of living things, but I don't have any interest 
in anything. Some people like nice clothes, but for me it's 
all the same — whatever rag is near at hand — just so I'm 
warm. For instance, all the boys have some hobby; some 
like fishing, others games, some sing songs; but nothing at- 
tracts me. While others are happy I feel depressed. Misery 
seems to grip my heart. 

Arkhip. That is God's gift to you. From your childhood 
you have had no love for this vain world. Some lose their 
faint-heartedness with years, when woes and afflictions, 
Afonya, crush and grind a man into powder; but you have 
never lived, have not yet tasted the world's sorrows or joys, 
and yet you reason like an old man. Thank God that he 
has made you wise. The world does not charm you: you 
do not know temptation, so your sins are less. That is your 
good fortune. Just listen to me. I, Afonya, have known 
temptation and have not always turned aside from it, and 
most often I sought temptation of my own free will. You 
say everything seems the same to you, that nothing in the 
world delights you; but to me God's world was good and 

150 SIN AND SORROW act i 

bright. Everything beckoned and charmed me. An un- 
sated eye and free will command one to taste all the pleasures 
of the universe. But in the world, Afonya, good and evil 
go hand in hand. Well, one's sins may be more in number 
than the sands of the sea. Luckily God prolonged my life, 
that I might repent, and did not strike me down in my sins. 
We repent and humble ourselves and hope for mercy; but 
you will have nothing to repent of; you, Afonya, are a man 
of God. 

Afonya. No, grandfather, no, do not speak so. How am 
I a man of God? I have seen men of God, but they are 
good and do not remember evil. They are abused and 
mocked, but they laugh at it, while I am rough and harsh, 
just like my brother; only brother is forgiving though 
quick-tempered, while I am not. I, grandfather, I have an 
evil temper. 

Arkhip. At whom should you be angry, my child; who 
injures you ? 

Afonya. No one injures me, but my heart aches for 
every one — for you, for brother, for all of you. 

Arkhip. Why are you grieving for us? We have noth- 
ing to complain of. 

Afonya. We didn't have anything to complain of, grand- 
father, before brother married. Grandfather, why does 
brother love his wife so? 

Arkhip. Why shouldn't he love her ? Why did he marry 
her ? You should be happy because he loves his wife. What 
a foolish fellow you are ! 

Afonya. No, I speak the truth. Formerly brother used 
to love you and me much more than now. 

Arkhip. So you are jealous ! Probably you are envious. 

Afonya. No, it isn't envy; but is my brother blind? 
Does she love him as he does her? Is she worthy of him? 

scene i SIN AND SORROW 151 

Why is he so servile in the presence of her and her kin? 
His servility offends me. Is he inferior to her and her sister ? 
One marries a wife to have a helper; but she sits with 
folded hands. Brother alone works and dances attendance 
on them. I pity him. 

Arkhip. What business is it of yours? It's his own 
choice. He works and doesn't force you to. You and I 
are fed by his kindness. 

Afonya. Don't I know that? Tell me, grandfather, is 
she any better than brother or not? 

Arkhip. Better or not, she is of different sort. 

Afonya. What do you mean by "different sort" ! As it 
is, brother is obliged to work for them, feed and clothe them, 
while they give themselves airs. There isn't a better man 
in the world than brother, and they have made him their 

Arkhip. How do you know ? Your brother himself may 
not wish her to work. 

Afonya. But if she doesn't work then she'd better not 
put on airs. Since she married a commoner she should be 
one like the rest of us. Are we a sort of accursed people ? 
Lord, pardon me for saying it ! We too have our communal 
society and we pay taxes and take part in other obligations. 
My brother gets money by sweat and toil, and contributes it 
to the community. She might stay at home and play the 
lady, but if she marries, then she should know that there is 
one master in the house — her husband. You see, grand- 
father, I see and hear everything, since they are so shame- 
less as not to pay any heed to me. Brother gives her ker- 
chiefs and silk dresses, while she and her sister laugh at him 
and call him a fool. I hear it all; it is bitter to me, grand- 
father, bitter. I began to speak to brother about it, but he 
scolded me. [Pause] Grandfather, that is why I can't sleep. 

152 SIN AND SORROW act i 

What I see by day appears to me at night, gnaws at my heart, 
and I weep all night. I shan't live long. My health cannot 
improve now because my temper is altogether too violent. 
If God would only take me quickly so that I should have 
less suffering ! 

Arkhip. Don't say such sinful things ! You have to live 
and live ! You see, Afonya, I have nothing to live for, yet 
I keep on living. God knows the reason of all this. What 
a man I am ! I never see the fair sun or the bright moon, 
and likewise I shall never see the green meadows or the cool 
waters and all creatures of God. But hardest of all is that 
I cannot see the bright face of man. 

Afonya. It is a pity, grandfather, that you cannot see; 
but I'm tired of everything, nothing comforts me. 

Arkhip. The reason you are not comforted is that your 
heart is not at peace. Look at God's world longer and 
more often, and less at men and women, and you will become 
lighter of heart; you will sleep at night and have pleasant 
dreams. Where are we sitting now, Afonya? 

Afonya. On the bank, grandfather, beside Prokofyevna's 

Arkhip. Is the bridge at our right? 

Afonya. Yes, grandfather. 

Arkhip. Is the sun at our left ? 

Afonya. Yes, grandfather, but it's almost set. 

Arkhip. In a cloud ? ^ 

Afonya. No, it is clear. The twilight is so brilliant. 
We'll have fine weather. 

Arkhip. That's it, that's it. I feel it myself. The air 
is so light and the breeze so fresh that I do not want to leave. 
Beautiful, Afonya, beautiful is God's world. Now the dew 
will fall and fragrance will rise from every flower; and yon- 
der the stars will come out; and above the stars, Afonya, is 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 153 

our merciful Creator. If we remembered more constantly 
that He is merciful, we ourselves should be more merciful. 

Afonya. I will try to subdue my heart, grandfather. 
[Babayev comes in] Let us go. Some strange gentleman is 
walking here; he would probably laugh at our talk. 

Arkhip. [Following Afonya] My soul magnifies God. 
They go out. 


Babayev alone 

Babayev. When you are waiting for something pleasant 
the time seems to drag ! I purposely came by the longest 
road so as not to arrive too early, but nevertheless I got 
here before they did. How I hate to wait ! What a foolish 
situation ! Women generally like to torment : it's their 
nature; they like to have some one wait for them. Of course, 
that doesn't apply to Tanya; I believe she's very, very glad 
that I have arrived. I speak of women of our own sort. I 
think they torment, because — how shall I express it — the 
idea is entirely original — in order to compensate themselves 
in advance for the rights which they lose later. That's the 
result of being in a lovely landscape face to face with nature ! 
What brilliant thoughts come to one ! If this thought were 
developed at leisure, in the country, it might form a small 
novel, even a comedy on the order of Alfred de Musset. 
But such things are not played in our country. They must 
be presented delicately, very delicately — here the principal 
thing is the — bouquet. I think some one is coming. Is it 
they ? How shall we meet ? Two years of separation mean 

Tatyana and Lukerya come in. 

154 SIN AND SORROW act i 


Babayev, Tatyana, and Lukerya 

Tatyana. [Extending her hand to Babayev] How do you 
do, Valentin Pavlych ! I was so happy when sister told me 
that you had returned. 

Babayev. So, do you still remember me? 

Tatyana. Indeed I do! We frequently, that is, sister 
and I, very frequently speak of you. She tells me that you 
have forgotten us. 

Babayev. No, I have not forgotten you. There are 
memories, my darling Tatyana Danilovna, which are not 
readily forgotten. My acquaintance with you was of that 
sort. Isn't that so? 

Tatyana. [Dropping her eyes] Yes, sir. 

Babayev. Let me assure you that as soon as I could tear 
myself away from St. Petersburg, and come to the country, 
I continually sought an occasion to visit this city and to find 
you without fail. 

Lukerya. Have you never found such an occasion before 
now ? Don't tell me that ! 

Babayev. I assure you. 

Lukerya. Much we believe you ! Tanya, do not believe 
the gentlemen; they always deceive. 

Babayev. Why speak so to me ? 

Lukerya. That doesn't apply just to you, but to all other 
fine young gentlemen. 

Tatyana. Shall you remain long in this city? 

Babayev. Shall I remain long? At first I thought it 
would depend upon the clerks who have my affair in hand, 
but now I see that it will depend upon you, my darling 
Tatyana Danilovna. 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 155 

Tatyana. That honors me entirely too much. No, tell 
me, shall you be here three or four days ? 

Babayev. They promised to arrange my affairs in three 
days, but maybe I'll stay three or four days longer, if you 
wish me to. 

Tatyana. Certainly, I do. 

Babayev. There is just one drawback, my darling Tatyana 
Danilovna: your city is dreadfully lonesome. I will remain 
on one condition, that I may see you as often as possible. 

Tatyana. That's very simple. Call on us. We shall be 
delighted to have you come to tea to-morrow. 

Babayev. Yes, but it's impossible to call on you often, 
as gossip and talk spreads, and then there's your husband 

Tatyana. This doesn't concern him. You are my ac- 
quaintance; you call on me, not him. 

Lukerya. Then we on our side will observe the courtesies 
and will return your call. Besides, we often visit your land- 
lady, so if it's pleasant for you to see us, you can call in there. 

Babayev. [Withdrawing to one side with Tatyana] Doesn't 
married life bore you? 

Tatyana. [After a pause] I don't know; what can I say 
to that ? 

Babayev. My darling Tatyana Danilovna, be perfectly 
frank with me. You know what kind feelings I've always 
had for you. 

Tatyana. Why should I be so frank with you? What 
good can come of it? It's too late to mend things now. 

Babayev. If you can't mend things entirely, at least, 
darling Tatyana Danilovna, you can sweeten your existence 
for a time, so that you will not be entirely smothered by the 
vulgar life around you. 

Tatyana. For a time, yes \ Then life will be harder than 

156 SIN AND SORROW act i 

Babayev. Do you know, I want to move to the country; 
then we could be near to one another. I am even ready to 
move to this town, if only you 

Tatyana. [Turning away] Please don't talk to me like 
that ! I didn't expect to hear such things from you, Valentin 

Lukerya. [To Babayev] You're getting in pretty deep 
there. I hear everything you're saying. 

Babayev. Lukerya Danilovna, I think some one is coming. 
Take a look out on the bank there. I'm anxious that we 
should not be seen here together. 

Lukerya. Oh, you're a sly gentleman ! [Goes away. 

Tatyana. So you will have tea with us to-morrow, Valen- 
tin Pavlych? 

Babayev. I really don't know — very likely. 

Tatyana. No, don't fail to come ! [Pause] Well, how 
shall I invite you? [Takes Babayev by the hand] Well, my 
darling ! Well, my precious ! 

Babayev. It seems to me that you have changed, Tatyana 

Tatyana. I, changed ! Honestly I haven't. Not a bit. 
Why are you so cruel to me? 

Babayev. Do you remember Zavetnoye, Tatyana Dani- 
lovna ? 

Tatyana. Why ? I remember it all. 

Babayev. Do you remember the garden ? Do you remem- 
ber the linden walk? Do you remember how, after supper, 
while mother slept, we used to sit on the terrace ? Do you 
recall the narrow ribbon ? 

Tatyana. [In a low voice] Which one ? 

Babayev. With which you tied my hands. 

Tatyana. [Embarrassed] Well, what of that? Yes, I re- 
member absolutely everything. 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 157 

Babayev. Just that you, my precious, are now entirely 
different; you have met me so coldly. 

Tatyana. Ah, Valentin Pavlych ! Then I was a girl and 
could love any one I wished; now I am married. Just think ! 

Babayev. Why, certainly. Yet I can't imagine you be- 
longing to any one else. Do what you will, I can hardly 
control my desire to call you Tanya, as I used to. 

Tatyana. Why control yourself? Call me Tanya. 

Babayev. But what's the use, my dear ! You don't love 
me any more ! 

Tatyana. Who told you that ? I love you as much, even 
more than before. 

Babayev. [Bending towards her] Is it possible, Tanechka, 
that that is the truth? 

Tatyana. [Kissing him] Well, here's my evidence ! Now 
do you believe ? But, darling Valentin Pavlych, if you don't 
wish me unhappiness for the rest of my life, we must love 
one another as we are doing now; but you mustn't think of 
more than that. Otherwise, good-by to you — away from 
temptation ! 

Babayev. Set your mind at rest, darling, about that. 

Tatyana. No, you swear to me ! Swear, so that I may 
not fear you. 

Babayev. How foolish you are ! 

Tatyana. Yes, I am foolish, certainly. If I should listen 
to the opinions of older people, then I am committing a great 
wrong. According to the old law, I must love no one other 
than my husband. But since I can't love him — and loved 
you before my marriage, and can't change my heart, so I — 
only God preserve you from — and I won't in any respect — 
because I wish to live right. 

Babayev. Galm yourself. 

Tatyana. That's the way, my dear Valentin Pavlych. 

158 SIN AND SORROW act i 

It means that we shall now have a very pleasant love-affair, 
without sinning against God, or feeling shame before men. 

Babayev. Yes, yes, that'll be splendid ! 

Tatyana. Now I'll give you a kiss because you're so clever ! 
[Kisses him] So you will come to-morrow evening ? 

Babayev. And then you'll visit me? 

Tatyana. Be sure to come ! Then we'll visit you. Now 
I'm not afraid of you. 

Babayev. How beautiful you are ! You're even lovelier 
than you used to be. 

Tatyana. Let that be a secret. Good-by. Come on, 
Lusha ! 

Lukerya. [Approaching] Good-by ! Good night, pleasant 
dreams — of plucking roses, of watering jasmine ! [Going] But 
what a man you are ! Oh, oh, oh ! He's clever, I must say ! 
I just looked and wondered. [They go out. 

Babayev. Now the novel is beginning; I wonder how 
it'll end ! 



A room in Krasnov's house; directly in front a door leading 
to a vestibule; to the right a window and a bed with chintz 
curtains; to the left a stove-couch and a door into the 
kitchen; in the foreground a 'plain board table and several 
chairs ; along *the back wall and window benches ; along 
the left wall a cupboard with cups, a small mirror, and a 
wall clock. ; 


Tatyana stands before the mirror putting on a kerchief ; 
Afonya is lying on the stove-couch; Lukerya comes in 
with a figured table-cloth. 

Lukerya. There, Tanya, I've borrowed a cloth from the 
neighbor to cover our table. Ours is awfully poor. 

[Lays the cloth on the table. 

Tatyana. Have you started the samovar? 

Lukerya. Long ago; it'll boil soon. Well, you see it's 
just as I told you; that kerchief is much more becoming to 
you. But why did you stick the pin through it? [Adjusting 
it] There, that's much better. 

Afonya. Where are you dressing up to go to? Why are 
you prinking so at that mirror? 

Tatyana. Nowhere; we're going to stay at home. 

Lukerya. What business is it of yours? Do you think 
we ought to be as slovenly as yourself? 

Afonya. But who are you fixing up for? For your hus- 

160 SIN AND SORROW act ii 

band ? He loves you more than you deserve even without 
the fine clothes. Or is it for some one else? 

Lukerya. Hear him ! A fool, a fool ! yet he understands 
that she's dressing up for some one else. 

Tatyana. Why should I dress for my husband? He 
knows me anyway. When I dress, of course it's for a stranger. 

Afonya. Who are you going to flirt with ? Who are you 
going to charm? Have you no conscience? 

Lukerya. What's the use of arguing with a fool! All 
he has to do is to chatter. Lies on the stove-couch and plots 

Tatyana. What kind of judge are you, anyway? My 
husband never says anything to me, and yet you dare to 
put in your opinion ! 

Afonya. Yes, but he's blinded by you, blinded. You've 
given him some sort of love-charm. 

Lukerya. Keep still, seeing that God has made you a 
sick man. Tend to your own business; keep on coughing, 
there's no sin in that. 

Afonya. Fool — brother is a fool ! He's ruined himself. 

Lukerya. Tanya, shouldn't I bring the samovar in here? 

Tatyana. Yes, and I'll set the cups. [Puts cups on the 
table. Lukerya goes out] You'd better go into the kitchen. 

Afonya. I'm all right here. 

Tatyana. Strangers are coming and you'll make us 

Afonya. I won't go. 

Tatyana. It's a true proverb: "There's no brewing beer 
with a fool." Our guest is no cheap shopkeeper like your 
brother. A gentleman is coming, do you hear? What are 
you fussing about? 

Afonya. What sort of a gentleman ? Why is he coming ? 

Tatyana. Just the same kind of gentleman as all the rest. 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 161 

He's our acquaintance, a rich landowner; well, now get out ! 

Afonya. He's a gentleman in his own house, but I'm one 
here. I'm not going to him, but he's coming here. I'm in 
my own house, and sick, so I won't consider anybody. Was 
it him you dressed up for? 

Tatyana. That's my business, not yours. 
Lukerya brings in the samovar. 

Lukerya. [Placing the samovar on the table] Lev Rodi- 
onych is coming with some people. 

Tatyana. I guess some of his relatives; what a horrid 
nuisance ! 

Afonya. Nuisance! Why did you ever intrude into our 
family ? 

Enter Krasnov, Kuritsyn, Ulyana. 


Krasnov, Tatyana, Lukerya, Afonya, Kuritsyn, and 

Krasnov. [To his wife] How are you? [Kisses her. 

Tatyana. How affectionate ! 

Krasnov. Never mind. We have a perfect right to ! 
Let me treat you. We've just received fresh grapes. [Gives 
her a bunch] Here I have brought you some company. The 
samovar is all ready — that's good. 

Ulyana. How do you do, sister? You are so proud you 
never call on us! But we're common folks; so we picked 
ourselves up and came, uninvited. 

Kuritsyn. How do you do, sister? Why are you so 
contemptuous of your relatives ? You might run over once 
in a while for tea ; your feet are able to carry you ! 

Krasnov. How has she time to go visiting? She has so 

162 SIN AND SORROW act ii 

much to do at home. She's just beginning to get used to 
the household ! 

Ulyana. Yes, sister, you must get used to the household. 
That's our woman's duty. You didn't marry a millionaire, 
so you needn't put on airs. 

Kuritsyn. Yes, you'd better learn, and well. 

Ulyana. [Approaching Afonya] Ah, Afonya, are you still 
sick ? You ought to take something ! 

Kuritsyn. [Also approaching Afonya] You eat more — 
then you'll get well. If you don't want to, then force your- 
self to eat; that's what I tell you ! 

[Speaks in a low voice to Afonya. 

Tatyana. [To her husband] What have you done ! What 
sort of company have you brought? 

Lukerya. To be frank, you've spoiled everything. How 
embarrassing, how awfully embarrassing ! 

Krasnov. What, embarrassing ? Is some lord coming ? 
What's the odds ! Nothing to get excited over ! Let him 
see our relatives. 

Lukerya. Much he's interested ! 

Krasnov. I can't chase my sister away for him. So 
there's nothing more to be said about it. I haven't set eyes 
on him yet, I don't know what he's like; these, at any rate, 
are our own. And, besides, they'll not stay long. [To his 
wife] Be seated; pour the tea! Brother, sister, have a cup 
of tea. 

All excepting Afonya seat themselves at the table. 

Kuritsyn. Brother, this is a holiday occasion, so it is 
customary before tea to — just a little. Don't you drink, 
yourself ? 

Krasnov. From the day I married Tatyana Danilovna I 
stopped all that. Tatyana Danilovna, treat brother and 
sister with some vodka. 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 163 

Tatyana. [Takes out of the cupboard and places on the 
table decanter, glasses, and refreshments] Have some, sister ! 
[Ulyana drinks] Have some, brother ! 

Kuritsyn. That's no invitation, you don't know how to 
do it. 

Krasnov. Brother, don't be quite so particular ! My 
wife doesn't know your common ways, and there's no use 
knowing them. Please, without ceremony. 

Kuritsyn. [After drinking] You are spoiling your wife, 
that's what I tell you. Freedom spoils even a good wife. 
You ought to take example from me, and teach her common 
sense; that would be lots better. Ask your sister how I 
trained her; we had a hot time of it. 

Ulyana. Yes, you, Manuylo Kalinich, are a terrible bar- 
barian, and a blood-sucker! You spend your whole life 
bossing your wife and showing your authority. 

Kuritsyn. What words are those? Who's talking? 
What's that you say? [Looking around] Is any stranger 
here ? Seems to me, my people in my own house don't dare 
to speak that way ! 

Ulyana. [With a start] I just said that for instance, 
Manuylo Kalinich. Because, sister, women like us can't 
live without strict discipline. It's a true proverb: "If you 
beat your wife, the soup tastes better." 

Tatyana. Every one to his own taste ! You, sister, like 
such treatment, while I consider it the height of rudeness. 

Lukerya. Nowadays, such peasant's conduct is discarded 
everywhere; it's getting out of fashion. 

Kuritsyn. You lie ! Such treatment of women can never 
get out of fashion, because you can't get along without it. 
Brother, listen to what point I've brought Ulyana. We 
used to have disputes among ourselves, among acquaintances 
or relatives, whose wife was more attentive; I'd bring 'em 

164 SIN AND SORROW act n 

to my house, sit on the bench, and push my foot out, so — 
and say to wife, "What does my foot want?" and she un- 
derstood because she'd been trained. Of course she at once 
fell at my feet. 

Ulyana. Yes, that's so, that used to happen. I can say 
that without shame, to everybody. 

Krasnov. There's nothing good in that, just swagger. 

Kuritsyn. Ah, brother! Beat your overcoat and it will 
be warmer; beat a wife — she'll be smarter. 

Tatyana. Not every wife will allow herself to be beaten, 
and the one that allows it, isn't worth any other treatment. 

Ulyana. Why are you giving yourself such airs all of a 
sudden, sister? Am I worse than you? You just wait 
awhile, you'll taste all that. We can clip your wings, too. 

Krasnov. Yes, but be careful. 

Ulyana. What are you saying? Married a beggar and 
you're putting on airs. Do you think that you've married 
the daughter of a distinguished landowner? 

Krasnov. What I think — is my business, and you can't 
understand it with your wits. You'd better keep still. 

Lukerya. What an interesting conversation — worth while 
hearing ! 

Ulyana. It seems to me she doesn't come from nobles 
but from government clerks. Not a very great lady ! Goats 
and government clerks are the devil's own kin. 

Krasnov. I told you to keep still ! I shouldn't have to 
tell you ten times. You ought to understand it at once. 

Kuritsyn. Leave them alone. I like it when the women 
start a row. 

Krasnov. But I don't like it. 

Ulyana. What do I care what you like ! I'm not trying 
to please you. My, how stern you are ! You'd better scold 
your own wife, not me; I'm not under your orders; you 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 165 

aren't my boss. I have a good husband who can boss me, 
not you. I'm not to blame because your wife wanders 
around highways and byways, and flirts with young gentle- 
men for hours. 

Krasnov. [Jumping up] What's that ! 

Tatyana. I know nothing of highways and byways; I 
have told you, Lev Rodionych, that I met Valentin Pavlych 
on the bank, and even everything that we said. 

Ltjkerya. Yes, I was there with them. 

Ulyana. Yes, you're the same sort. 

Krasnov. You're a regular snake in the grass ! And you 
call yourself a sister. What do you want ? To make trouble 
between us ? You're spiteful because I love my wife ! You 
may rest assured that I wouldn't change her for anybody. 
For thirty years I've slaved for my family, labored till I 
sweated blood, and I thought of marriage only when I'd 
provided for the whole family. For thirty years I haven't 
known any pleasures. That's why I have to be thankful to 
my wife, who has beauty and education, for loving me, a 
peasant. Formerly I worked for you; now I will work for 
her forever. I'll perish working, but I'll give her every 
comfort. I should kiss her feet, because I very well under- 
stand that I and my whole household aren't worth her little 
finger. Do you think after this I will allow her to be abused ! 
I respect her — and you all must respect her ! 

Ltjkerya. Sister herself understands that she deserves all 

Krasnov. What's that you were saying, Ulyana? If 
you're right, then it's all up with me ! See here ! I have 
only one joy, one consolation, and I should have to give it up. 
Is that easy ? Is it ? I'm not made of stone that I can look 
at such wifely doings through my fingers ! Your foolish 
words have entered my ears and wrenched my heart. If I 

166 SIN AND SORROW act n 

believed you, then — God keep me from it — I should soon do 
some violence ! One can't vouch for himself as to what 
may happen. Maybe the devil will jog my elbow. God 
save us ! This is not a joking matter ! If you wanted to 
hurt me, you should have taken a knife and thrust it into 
my side — that would have been easier for me. After such 
words it's better that I never see you again, you breaker-up 
of families. I'd rather disown all my people than endure 
your poison. 

Ulyana. I'm not the cause of separation. It's she that's 
breaking up families. 

Ktjritsyn. Well, brother! Evidently, if it's the wife's 
kin — open the door; but if it's the husband's kin — then shut 
the door. You visit us and we'll show you hospitality. 
Come, wife, we'd better go home ! 

Ulyana. Well, good-by, sister, but remember ! And you, 
brother, just wait; we'll settle accounts somehow. 

[They go out. 


Krasnov, Tatyana, Lukerya, and Afonya 

Krasnov. [Approaching his wife] Tatyana Danilovna, I 
hope you won't take that to heart, because they're a rough 

Tatyana. That's the kind of relatives you have ! I lived 
better beyond comparison as a girl; at least I knew that no 
one dared to insult me. 

Lukerya. [Clearing the table] We didn't associate with the 
common people. 

Krasnov. And I'll never let you be insulted. You saw 
I didn't spare my own sister, and drove her out of my house; 
but if it had been a stranger, he wouldn't have got off alive. 

scene in SIN AND SORROW 167 

You don't know my character yet; at times I'm afraid of 

Tatyana. What, do you become dreadfully furious ? 

Krasnov. Not that I'm furious, I'm hot-tempered. I'm 
beside myself, and don't see people at such times. 

Tatyana. How terribly you talk! Why didn't you tell 
me about your character before ? I wouldn't have married 

Krasnov. There's nothing bad in a man's being hot- 
tempered. That means that he's eager in all things, even in 
his work, and he can love better, because he has more feeling 
than others. 

Tatyana. Now I shall be afraid of you. 

Krasnov. I don't want you to fear me. But I should 
like to know when you are going to love me ? 

Tatyana. What sort of love do you want to have from 

Krasnov. You know yourself what sort; but maybe you 
don't feel it. What's to be done ? We'll wait, perhaps it'll 
come later. Everything can happen in this world ! There 
have been cases where love has come the fifth or sixth year 
after marriage. And what love ! Better than if it came at 

Tatyana. Keep on waiting. 

Lukerya. You're very hot in your love; but we're of en- 
tirely different bringing up. 

Krasnov. You speak of bringing up? I'll tell you this, 
that if I were younger, I'd take up and study for Tatyana 
Danilovna. I know, myself, what I lack, but now it's too 
late. I've a soul but no training. If I were trained 

Lukerya. [Glancing towards the window] He's coming, 
Tanya; he's coming ! [Both run out of the room. 

168 SIN 4ND SORROW act ii 

Krasnov. Where so suddenly ? What are you running 
after ? 

Lukerya. What do you mean? Recollect yourself. We 
must be courteous and go to meet him. [They go out 

Afonya. Brother! You drove sister away. Whether 
right or not, let God judge you ! But I tell you, you'd better 
watch the gentleman. 

Krasnov. What the deuce have you got to do with this ? 
You hiss like a snake. You want to wound me. Get out of 
here ! Go, I tell you, or I'll kill you. 

Afonya. Well, kill ! My life isn't very sweet to me, and 
I haven't long to live, anyway. But don't be blind ! Don't 
be blind ! [Goes out. 

Krasnov. What are they doing to me ? Must I really be 
on my guard, or are they just frightening me ? Where then 
is love ! Is it possible, Lord, that I have taken unto me not 
a joy but a torture ! Rouse yourself, Lev Rodionych, rouse 
yourself. Hearken not to the fiend. You have one joy — 
he's seizing it, and draining your heart. You will ruin your 
whole life ! You will perish for no cause. All those are 
slanderous words. They're spiteful because my wife is good, 
and we get along together — so they begin to stir up trouble. 
That's clearly seen. It's so in every family. The best way 
is to drop it and not think about it. The gentleman will 
have to be gotten rid of; I must see that he never looks our 
way any more. "Come oftener," I'll tell him, "we like it 
better when you aren't here." So there'll be less talk and 
my heart will be calmer. 

Enter Babayev, Tatyana, and Lukerya. 



Babayev, Krasnov, Tatyana, and Lukerya 

Babayev. So this is where you live ! Is this your own 
little house? 

Tatyana. Our own. This is my husband. 

Babayev. I'm delighted. I've known your wife a long 

Krasnov. That's your affair. 

Babayev. You're in business ? 

Krasnov. That's my affair. 

Tatyana. Won't you be seated ? [Babayev and Krasnov 
take seats] Shouldn't you like some tea? 

Babayev. No, thank you; I don't care for tea now. 

Lukerya. Ah, Tanya, we've forgotten that now in St. 
Petersburg they have different tastes. [To Babayev] We 
can have coffee immediately. 

Babayev. No, please do not trouble yourself; I've already 
had some. Let us rather sit and talk. Are you happy 
here? Have you any amusements here? 

Tatyana. No. What sort of amusements can one have 
here ? 

Babayev. How do you spend your time? Is it possible 
you are always at home? 

Tatyana. Mostly. 

Krasnov. And that is proper among such as us. Our 
Russian way is: husband and dog in the yard, and wife and 
cat in the house. 

Lukerya. [In a low voice to Krasnov] Can't you speak 
more politely ? 

Krasnov. I know my business. 

170 SIN AND SORROW act ii 

Babayev. So you're a housekeeper. I should think it 
must have been hard for you to get used to your new duties. 

Tatyana. [Glancing at her husband] Yes; of course I can't 
say — of course — at first 

Babayev. [To Lukerya] I'm asking, but I don't really 
know myself what these duties consist of. 

Lueierya. But considering your noble birth, that's be- 
neath your knowledge. 

Krasnov. There's nothing vulgar about it. 

Babayev. Really, what is there vulgar in it? 

Lukerya. The words are low and even quite coarse, and 
they aren't usually spoken before people of good breeding. 

Babayev. Well, imagine that I'm a man of no breeding. 
What are the words, tell me? 

Lukerya. You're embarrassing Tanya and me. But if 
you're interested to hear those words, all right ! The kitchen 
and other common things belong to the household: the fry- 
ing-pan, the handle, the oven fork. Isn't that low? 

Krasnov. Whether the oven fork is high or low, if you 
put the soup in the stove you've got to get it out. 

Tatyana. You might spare your wife before guests. 

Krasnov. I haven't insulted you a hair's breadth either 
before guests or without guests. When you're asked what 
sort of a housekeeper you are for your husband, right before 
him, then I should think you'd answer, that you're a good 
housekeeper, and aren't ashamed of your position, because 
among such as us that is the first duty. 

Lukerya. [In a low voice to Krasnov] You're disturbing 
our conversation with our guest. 

Babayev. [In a low voice to Tatyana] Is he always like 

Tatyana. [In a low voice] I don't know what's the matter 
with him. 

scene v SIN AND SORROW 171 

Babayev. [In a low voice] You see for yourself that I've 
no business here. You'd better come to me to-day, and I'll 
go home now. [Aloud] Well, good-by. I hope this isn't the 
last time we meet. 

Lukerya. Certainly, certainly. 

Tatyana. We are most grateful for your visit ! 

Krasnov. [Bowing] Good-by to you ! Are you going away 
from here soon? 

Babayev. I don't know. Whenever my affairs are set- 

Krasnov. But when, do you think? 

Babayev. They tell me, at court, the day after to-morrow. 

Krasnov. So, when that's over you're going directly? 

Babayev. I think so. What is there to do here? 

Krasnov. Yes, there's nothing to do here. My regards 
to you ! [Babayev, Tatyana, and Lukerya go out] An un- 
bidden guest is worse than a Tatar. What do we want with 
him? What use is he to us? I won't have his help; we 
aren't beggars. Well, be off with you ! Go to St. Peters- 
burg, and good luck to you. 

Enter Tatyana and Lukerya. 


Krasnov, Tatyana, and Lukerya 

Tatyana. What are you doing? Why did you go and 
insult me so? 

Krasnov. There's no insult ! Now, look here ! We 
haven't quarrelled once since our wedding, and I hope that 
we may never do so, but may always live in love. 

Lukerya. Fine love, I must say ! 

[Krasnov looks at her sharply. 

172 SIN AND SORROW act n 

Tatyana. Where is your love ? Now we see it very plainly. 
I must serve your relatives and friends like a cook; but when 
our friend came, a gentleman, then you almost drove him 

Lukerya. You did drive him away, only in a roundabout 

Tatyana. You'd better not speak of your love. What 
do I want with your love when you disgrace me at every 

Krasnov. I don't understand the reason for this argu- 
ment ! The whole affair isn't worth discussing. We prob- 
ably won't ever see him again, and we have no need of him; 
he went with what he came. We have to live our life to- 
gether; it isn't worth our having trouble over him. 

Tatyana. Ah, Lusha, what a disgrace ! I wonder what 
he'll think of us now? 

Lukerya. Yes. He'll soon go back to St. Petersburg; a 
fine opinion of us he'll take away with him ! 

Krasnov. I tell you again, that you should dismiss him 
and his opinions from your mind. The whole affair isn't 
worth a kopek. I think that whether he's alive or no, it's 
all the same to us. 

Tatyana. It may be all the same for you, but not so for 
us. Sister and I have promised to visit him and we want 
to go to-day. 

Krasnov. There's no need. 

Tatyana. How, no need? I tell you that I want to see 

Krasnov. You want to, but I'm not anxious. Ought you 
to consider my wishes or not? 

Tatyana. You seem to have assumed authority all of a 
sudden. You certainly don't imagine that we'll obey you. 
— No, indeed, we won't. 

scene v SIN AND SORROW 173 

Krasnov. [Striking the table] What do you mean by "no, 
indeed"? No, if I tell you something, then that has to go. 
I'm talking sense and what's good for you, and that's why I 
give you strict orders. [Again strikes the table. 

Tatyana. [Crying] What tyranny ! What torture ! 

Lukerya. [With a laugh] Oh, what a fearful, oh, what a 
terrible man, ha, ha, ha ! 

Krasnov. What are you cackling about? I'll fire you 
out so fast that your skirts will squeak on the gate. 

Tatyana. Well, do what you like, even kill us, but we'll 
go. We don't want to show him we're boors. We surely 
have to thank him for remembering us, and wish him a pleas- 
ant journey. 

Krasnov. Tatyana Danilovna, please understand what 
you are told. 

Tatyana. I hope you aren't going to fight? That'll be 
just like you. That's what's to be expected. 

Krasnov. You're mistaken. You'll never see me do that. 
I love you so much that this time I'll even respect your 
caprices. Go along, but never set your foot there again. 
Only one more thing, Tatyana Danilovna: you see this clock ! 
[Points to the wall clock] Look at the clock when you leave, 
and be back in half an hour ! [Pointing to the floor] On this 
very spot. Understand? 

Tatyana. Come, Lusha, let's dress. [Both go out. 

Krasnov. I think everything will be all right now. They 
were a little spoiled; in that case sternness will do no harm. 
If I hold on she'll come to love me. Then when the gentle- 
man is gone, I can humor her again; then our misunder- 
standing will be forgotten. What wouldn't I give for the 
half -hour they're with the gentleman? But what's to be 
done? I can't cut her off sharp — that'd entirely turn her 
away from me. Whatever I try to think of, horrid things 

174 SIN AND SORROW act n 

come into my head. But he certainly isn't a bandit. And 
then my wife, a little while ago — I'm just an enemy to my- 
self ! There surely can't be anything bad; but I think of 
all sorts of nonsense! I'd better go and have a chat with 
my friends at the tavern. What did he whisper to her just 
now ? Well, they're old acquaintances ; just something ! 
[Takes his cap] Tatyana Danilovna ! I pined for you until 
I married you; and now that I have married you, all my 
heart aches. Don't ruin me, poor lad that I am; it will be 
a sin for you ! [Goes out. 


Same room as in Act I 


Kaep and Prokofyevna come in 

Prokofyevna. Is he asleep ? 

Karp. Don't know. I guess not; he hasn't that habit. 
It isn't time yet, anyway. What do you think? In St. 
Petersburg it isn't dinner-time yet, it's still morning. 

Prokofyevna. What's that, good heavens ! 

Karp. Why, at times in the winter, when it's already 
dusk and the lights are lit everywhere, it's still considered 

Prokofyevna. What's the wonder! It's a big city, the 
capital, not like this. I just came in to see if anything was 
needed. [Glancing out of the window] I believe some one is 
coming here. I'll go and meet them. [Goes out. 

Karp. One is bored to extinction here. If he'd grease 
the palms of the principal men at the court, then they'd 
have done it in a jiffy. At least we'd now be home, at busi- 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 175 

ness. I wonder how it is he isn't bored ! I wonder if he 
hasn't found some prey here! He surely doesn't go about 
town for nothing ! I know his ways : he walks and walks 
past the windows, and casts his eye around for some brunette. 
Prokofyevna comes in. 

Prokofyevna. Go and tell him that he is wanted, my dear 

Karp. Why is he wanted? 

Prokofyevna. You tell him; he knows why. 

Karp. [Through the door] Please, sir, you have visitors. 

Babayev. [From the door] Who ? 

Prokofyevna. Come out, sir, for a minute; you're wanted ! 
Babayev enters. 


Karp, Prokofyevna, Babayev 

Prokofyevna. Listen! Tatyana Danilovna, the wife of 
the shopkeeper, has come with her sister, and wants to 
know if they may come in. 

Babayev. Ask them in. I'll tell you what ! Listen, land- 
lady ! Please avoid gossip ! It's possible that she'll come 
again, so you'll please say that she comes to see you. If 
any one asks you, you know; the city is small, and every 
one knows every one else, and every one watches every one 
else, where each goes, and what each does. 

Prokofyevna. Oh, sir! What's that to me! I looked 
but I didn't see. You're a stranger, not of this place. 

Babayev. Ask them in! You and I, dear landlady, are 
old friends. [Pats her on the shoulder. 

Prokofyevna. Indeed we are, sir, friends ! [Goes out. 

Karp. [With an impatient wave of his hand] Sins ! [Goes out 
Tatyana and Lukerya come in. 



Babayev, Tatyana, Lxjkerya 

Lukerya. How do you do, again ! Were you looking for 

Babayev. To be frank, I didn't expect you so soon. Be 
seated; why are you standing ? [They all sit down. 

Lukerya. We fairly ran over here. We had such a time 
getting away. 

Tatyana. That's enough, Lusha; stop! 

Lukerya. There's no use concealing matters ! You can't 
do it. Valentin Pavlych has seen our local gentry to-day, 
himself. You should see what a rumpus we had after you 

Tatyana. Ah, Lusha, those things happen in every family; 
there's no need telling every one ! It's no one's affair how 
we live. 

Lukerya. Now you understand, Valentin Pavlych, what 
a peasant is when he assumes importance? 

Tatyana. It's well for you to talk, since you aren't con- 
cerned. You might spare me ! He's my husband, and I 
have to live with him till the brink of the grave. 

Babayev. You weren't careful in your marriage, Tatyana 
Danilovna; you weren't careful. 

Tatyana. How queer you are ! What are you reproach- 
ing me for ? Where were you when we had nothing to eat ? 
But now there is no going back. All that remains for me to 
do is to cry all the rest of my life. [Cries. 

Babayev. Why are you crying now ? 

Tatyana. What have I to rejoice over ? You ? I might 
be happy if I had freedom. Understand this: on your ac- 
count I quarrelled with my husband; you'll be going away 

scene iv SIN AND SORROW 177 

to-day or to-morrow, while I have to remain with him. 
You only made matters worse by coming; until you came 
he didn't seem so bad, and suddenly he has changed entirely. 
Before he saw you he fulfilled my every wish, he licked my 
hands like a dog; but now he has begun to look askance at 
me and to scold. How can I endure torment all my life 
with the man I loathe ! [Cries. 

Babayev. Now, please stop ! Why do you grieve ! [To 
Lukerya] Listen, Lukerya Danilovna! You go to the 
landlady, I can calm her better alone. 

Lukerya. All right, but don't be too sly ! [Goes out. 


Babayev and Tatyana 

Babayev. [Draws nearer and puts one arm around Tat- 
yana] Darling, Tanechka, now stop ! Why do you weep 
so ! Let's think, together, how we can help your grief. 

Tatyana. There's no use thinking ! There's no way. 

Babayev. Is that so? But what if I take you off to the 
village ? 

Tatyana. Which one ? Where ? 

Babayev. To my own village. There everything is the 
same as when mother lived : the same lanes, ponds, and ar- 
bors; everything is familiar to you, and will remind you of 
the past. There you'd be my housekeeper. 

Tatyana. [Freeing herself from his arm] What ideas you 
do get, my dear sir ! How could you get such a foolish no- 
tion into your head ! Do you think my husband would 
allow such a thing ! Why, he'd find me, at the bottom of 
the sea ! 

Babayev. For a time we'll be able to hide you so that he 

178 SIN AND SORROW act ii 

won't find you; and meanwhile we can smooth it over with 

Tatyana. What! What! That's a bright idea! Stop 
talking such nonsense ! You'd better advise me how to live 
with my husband the rest of my life. 

Babayev. Why so ! Much I care for that ! 

Tatyana. So, you don't love me a little bit ! You're just 
making believe ! Yes, that's it ! 

Babayev. Tanya, isn't it a sin for you to talk so ? Now, 
tell me, isn't it? 

Tatyana. What? 

Babayev. Isn't it a sin to suspect me? 

Tatyana. Oh, you ! One can't tell whether you're mak- 
ing believe or not. 

Babayev. Why should you tell, my angel ! Don't worry 
about me ! Just ask your own heart what it tells you ! 

[Embraces her. 

Tatyana. But what does yours tell you? 

Babayev. Yes, but, Tanya, you don't believe me; you 
say that I'm making believe, and yet you are asking ques- 
tions. But how could I deceive you? 

Tatyana. You aren't a bit interested ! You're just talking. 

Babayev. Don't be afraid; I'll not deceive ! Why should 
I deceive you ? [Leans towards her; she listens with downcast 
eyes] I'll tell you what, Tanya ! My heart tells me that I 
have never loved any one as I do you. It's all the same 
whether you believe me or not. But I will prove that it is 
the truth, and you yourself will agree with me. Why, I 
don't tell you that I've never seen women more beautiful 
than you, or cleverer. Then you might tell me to my face 
that I lied. No, I have seen more beautiful women than 
you, and cleverer; but I have never seen such a darling, 
charming, artless little woman as you. 

scene iv SIN AND SORROW 179 

Tatyana. [Sighing] Artless — Ah, you speak the truth. 

Babayev. Well, I've told you what I feel. Why don't 
you tell me? 

Tatyana. What should I say? I don't know how. I 
might say more than you. But why say anything — you 
know yourself. 

Babayev. That is, possibly, I guess, but 

Tatyana. Why "but"? There's nothing to be said! 

Babayev. Yes, there is. I guess the secret but I get no 
good from it. [Pause] Tell me yourself that you love me! 
Well, how about it, Tanya? 

Tatyana. What do you want ? 

Babayev. Do you love me? [Pause] Do you love me? 

Tatyana. [Dropping her eyes] Well, yes. 

Babayev. Very much? [Pause] Why are you silent? Do 
you love me very much? 

Tatyana. Yes. 

Babayev. Will you go to the village with me? 

Tatyana. Ah, stop urging me ! 

Babayev. Well, you needn't go to the village then. I 
know what we'll do: I'll rent a lodging here in the city, and 
will come here every other week. Do you agree to that ? 

Tatyana. Yes. 

Babayev. Now you see, my darling Tanechka, I'm ready 
to do anything for you. 

Tatyana. I see. 

Babayev. And you? [Pause] Why are you silent? 

Tatyana. But our compact? 

Babayev. What compact ? 

Tatyana. Yesterday's. You remember, on the bank. 

Babayev. What's there to remember ? There wasn't any 

180 SIN AND SORROW act n 

Tatyana. Shameless, you're shameless ! Can you forget 
so soon ! 

Babayev. I don't want to know of any compacts. 

[Embraces and kisses her. 

Tatyana. [Rising] Oh ! Stop, please ! 

Babayev. Why "stop" ? What do you mean by "stop" ? 

Tatyana. I mean, stop. 

Babayev. 'What whims ! 

Tatyana. No whims at all, only please move a little 
further off. 

Babayev. If you're going to be so whimsical, then I'll go 
away. I'll drop the business for which I came and will go 
away immediately. 

Tatyana. Very well, go. 

Babayev. I'm not joking. Karp! [Karp comes in] Pack 
up and then go order horses. 

Karp. Yes, sir. 

Tatyana. So that's the way ? Well, good luck to you ! 
Good-by ! [Runs out. 

Karp. Well, sir, do you want me to pack up ? 

Babayev. Pack up, for where ? You make me tired, man ! 
[Goes to the window] I wonder if they've gone home ? 

Karp. They won't leave. 

Babayev. That's none of your business ! Get out ! 
Karp goes out; Lukerya comes in. 


Babayev and Lukerya 

Lukerya. Sister has asked me to tell you to put off your 
going. An acquaintance is visiting the landlady; so you'll 
understand that it's awkward for her to come to you. But 

scene v SIN AND SORROW 181 

when she goes away sister will come to you. She has some- 
thing to talk over with you. 

Babayev. You're very kind, Lukerya Danilovna ! 

Lukerya. I can't believe my ears ! Is it possible that I 
hear such compliments from you ! [Courtesies. 



Same room as in Act II 


Tatyana is lying on the bed; Lukerya comes in 

Lukerya. Tanya, are you asleep ? 

Tatyana. No. 

Lukerya. Then you'd better get up ! What are you 
lying around for all day ? You've been in bed all the morn- 
ing, and still not up. 

Tatyana. What's the use of getting up? What's there 
to do ? 

Lukerya. If you were only asleep — but to lie in bed and 
cry just rends your heart. Better get up and let's talk it 

Tatyana. [Getting up] Oh, what an unhappy, gloomy day 
this is ! [Sits down] How unfortunate I am ! What have I 
done to myself ? Why did I marry ? I've drowned my hap- 
piness, simply drowned it ! 

Lukerya. Who could have told? As a suitor he was as 
quiet as water and as meek as the grass; now I don't know 
what has happened to him. Why, yesterday I thought he 
was joking when he told us to be back in a half-hour. 

Tatyana. I did, too. If you only had seen how he pounced 
on me, and how terrible he's become. He looked daggers 
all the morning, left without saying good-by, and now he 
hasn't even come back for dinner. 

scene i SIN AND SORROW 183 

Lukerya, What did he say to you when you were left 
alone yesterday ? 

Tatyana. He scolded and abused, got all wrought up, 
and wept himself; what didn't he do ! "For all my love for 
you," he said, "I ask you only one thing in return: soothe 
me, give me back my peace of mind, because I am jealous." 

Lukerya. What an affliction ! 

Tatyana. He said he wasn't jealous of any one but this 

Lukerya. The idea of his being jealous of every one! 
That would be a great idea ! 

Tatyana. "When that man leaves," he said, "then you 
may do anything you like, and go anywhere, but because 
you didn't heed my command, don't dare cross the threshold 
until he has left the city for good." 

Lukerya. What did you say to that? 

Tatyana. He kept shouting but I kept still through it all; 
but it hurts me because he lords it over me so. At first he 
was sly as a fox, but now he has started to order me about, 
and talk to me in his vulgar, peasant's way. He doesn't care 
that he has insulted me, but I've been crying all day. I 
couldn't love him if he killed me. If he gave me freedom, 
then I might have some affection for him; but now I'll do 
everything he doesn't want me to, just for meanness; even 
if I had wronged him, I wouldn't regret it. I must get even 
with him some way. I can't fight with him; I haven't the 
strength for that. 

Lukerya. Certainly. He ought to be satisfied that you 
married him; and now he's got the notion of watching your 

Tatyana. Since yesterday I've begun to fear him so. 
You won't believe me; why, I shudder when he looks at me. 

Lukerya. What do you think you'll do now? 

184 SIN AND SORROW act m 

Tatyana. What's the use of thinking? My head's all in 
a muddle. It's bad, no matter how you look at it. I sold 
my very youth to one I cannot love, just for a piece of bread, 
and from one day to another he becomes more repulsive to 

Lukerya. After such actions on his part, it's no wonder 
he's repulsive. Especially when you compare him with 
others. The other man is a born gentleman in every sense 
of the word. 

Tatyana. Now what shall I do ? If I could break off all 
connection with Valentin Pavlych, I should be very glad. 
But I see I should have thought of that before, and attended 
to the matter earlier; but now it's too late. It's beyond my 

Lukerya. But he loves you very much, Tanya. 

Tatyana. Is that so? Oh, bother him. That's just it; 
at first I haven't enough sense, then I have to cry over it. 
My mother used to say to me: "Be careful, daughter, your 
lack of common sense will be your ruin." 

Lukerya. You want to see him, I suppose ? I think he's 

Tatyana. Well, of course. If it depended on me, I'd fly 
to him. 

Lukerya. We'll have to rack our brains how we may 
work that. 

Tatyana. No matter how I rack my brain, I can't think 
of anything. 

Lukerya. I know what, Tanya ! You'll have to fool your 

Tatyana. How? 

Lukerya. We women couldn't live without cunning, be- 
cause we're the weaker sex, and abused on all sides. 

Tatyana. But what cunning ? Tell me ! 

scene i SIN AND SORROW 185 

Lukerya. Now that you and your husband live like cats 
and dogs, he can't help getting the notion into his noddle 
that you don't love him, but do love another. 

Tatyana. How shall I manage? 

Lukerya. You'll have to change your tactics. Be very 
submissive; peasants like that. Make believe that you're 
in love with him; give him all sorts of humbug and he'll 
prick up his ears at it. Flatter him with all sorts of flatteries 
— that'll be a new thing for him. 

Tatyana. I'll have to say what I don't feel. 

Lukerya. Where's the harm in that ? How does he know 
what's in your heart? He doesn't need to understand that 
your action is make-believe, and not sincere. You'll see, 
after such actions, he'll believe in you so much that even 
though you made love before his very eyes, he wouldn't 
notice it. 

Tatyana. One can't make such a sudden change in one- 

Lukerya. It certainly must be sudden. What's there to 
wait for ? 

Tatyana. He's angry with me now; how can I approach 
him ? I can't beg his pardon ! 

Lukerya. Why pardon? [She thinks] Do it this way: you 
tell grandfather Arkhip that you'd like to make up with 
your husband, so that you'd have no misunderstandings, 
that you love your husband, and that you feel his displeasure 
very much. 

Tatyana. Well, I'll try. 

Lukerya. It's all the same to me ! I'm talking for your 
own good. 

Tatyana. Go and bring grandfather; he's sitting in the 
garden. [Lukerya goes out] That's what it is for a woman 
to have wits ! Even if she takes a fancy to a man she won't 

186 SIN AND SORROW act in 

let anybody guess it. She'll so fool her husband that he'll 
just dote on her. But without wit one is lost. 
Lukerya comes in leading Arkhip. 


Tatyana, Lukerya, Arkhip 

Arkhip. Do you need me? What do you want me for? 
Tatyana, are you here? 

Tatyana. Yes, grandfather. 

Arkhip. Lukerya is leading me, and she says: "Grand- 
father Arkhip, we need you !" What business can you have 
of me in my old age? 

Lukerya. You see, grandfather, sister is displeased with 
her husband. 

Arkhip. Well, what of that ? Who is the judge between 
husband and wife ? Let them live as they wish. 

Tatyana. What happiness is there in living so? It is 
better to live in harmony. 

Arkhip. Then what's the matter ? Live in harmony ! 
Who's preventing you? 

Lukerya. You see, he has a very crude manner, and we're 
not used to it. 

Arkhip. Wait, don't put in your word. She has a tongue 
of her own. You tell me, Tatyana. 

Tatyana. My husband is now angry with me and doesn't 
even look at me; he thinks I don't love him, and in that 
he's mistaken. 

Lukerya. [Motioning to Tatyana to talk] She's afraid of 
his temper. 

Tatyana. I love him as my duty requires. If he thinks 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 187 

badly of me, I don't deserve it. Does he think I could be- 
tray him for any one else ? I would never do such a thing 
in my life. 

Lukerya. And such a splendid man ! Doesn't she realize 

Tatyana. If I had wronged him in any way, then he 
might scold, and be done with it. But if he'll only be kind 
to me, then I'll show him all respect. I'll indulge him as he 
never dared hope. 

Lukerya. How many times she's told me: "I love my 
husband very much, very, very much." 

Arkhip. What do you keep backing each other up for? 
Have you been plotting together? 

Lukerya. Why should I be silent ? Is it pleasant for me 
to see that my sister, whom I adore, lives in such discord 
with her husband ? [Signals to Tatyana. 

Tatyana. Grandfather Arkhip, I want to ask you to have 
a talk with my husband 

Arkhip. Wait! Wait! Give me time — don't take me 
off my feet ! You say that your husband is angry with you ? 
Then you're to blame? 

Tatyana. Much I am to blame ! 

Arkhip. Much or little, you're certainly to blame. You 
don't want to humble yourself; you're ashamed to — so you 
ask me. Is that so? 

Tatyana. Yes, grandfather Arkhip. 

Arkhip. Are you speaking sincerely, or just words ? 

Tatyana. Sincerely, grandfather. 

Arkhip. But what's that to me ! It's not my business. 
If you lie, then you'll answer to God ! But I will speak to 
him. Why not? If you stop quarrelling, then it will be 
pleasant for all of us. 

188 SIN AND SORROW actio 

Lukerya. You talk to him to-day. 
Arkhip. I'll talk to him when he comes home. 
Enter Afonya. 


Tatyana, Lukerya, Arkhip, and Afonya 

Arkhip. Who came in? 

Afonya. I, Grandfather Arkhip. 

Arkhip. To-day we have a holiday, Afonya. Tatyana 
wishes to make peace with her husband, and to submit to 

Afonya. Submit? Submit? Don't believe her, Grand- 
father Arkhip, she's fooling you. 

Arkhip. That's enough from you ! 

Tatyana. Why should I fool you? What's the use? 

Afonya. You came to your senses when brother frightened 
you a little. You ought to have done it long ago. If you're 
in earnest, then drop your proud ways. You ought to bow 
down to your husband's feet, right to his feet. And to all 
of us, to all. You have wronged all of us. 

Lukerya. [In a low voice] That would be entirely too much 

Tatyana. Why should I bow down to my husband? 

Afonya. For everything that he's done for you. I saw 
myself how he kneeled before you ! It's a shame ! 

[Covers his face with his hands. 

Lukerya. What of it, if he wanted to ? 

Afonya. He's no worse than you, yet he bowed down to 
you; now you bow down to him. Make up to him for his 
humiliation. It won't hurt you ! And bow down to all 
of us, even to our brother-in-law and sister. 

scene iv SIN AND SORROW 189 

Tatyana. Bowing down to my husband has some sense 
in it, but why should I to you? 

Afonya. Because brother insulted all of us on your ac- 
count. On account of you our family has been broken up. 
You're dearer to him than anybody, dearer than all his own. 

Arkhip. Calm yourself ! Try to control this fit of anger ! 
We want to make peace, and you are starting a quarrel 

Lukerya. He's not even her husband, yet what awful 
things he says ! If you gave him his way, he would make 
our life unbearable. 

Arkhip. [Patting Afonya on the head] What do you ex- 
pect of him? He's a sick man. 
Krasnov comes in. 


Krasnov, Tatyana, Lukerya, Arkhip, and Afonya 

Lukerya. [In a low voice to Arkhip] Lev Rodionych is 

Arkhip. Lev, you haven't had any dinner to-day. 

Krasnov. I had no time. 

Tatyana. If you wish, we'll serve you now. 

Krasnov. [Sitting down to the table] Certainly. I can't get 
along without eating ! 

Tatyana. Set the table, sister ! 

[Goes to the kitchen. Lukerya sets the table. 

Arkhip. Lev, are you going back to the shop? 

Krasnov. No, I'm all through there. 

Arkhip. Will you stay at home? 

Krasnov. I'll be here for an hour, then I have to go 
across the river to make a collection. 

Tatayana brings a plate of cabbage soup, puts it on 

190 SIN AND SORROW act hi 

the table, and goes out with Lukerya. Krasnov, 
after eating several spoonfuls, is lost in thought. 

Arkhip. Lev ! I can't see you, but it seems as if you 
weren't happy. 

Krasnov. What's there to be happy about? 

Arkhip. Why are you so sad ? What's your sorrow ? 

Krasnov. It's my sorrow, grandfather, mine. My very 
own. It's for me to judge of it. 

Arkhip. Well, as you choose ! It's your sorrow, and for 
you to bear. [Pause] If I say anything, you know I'm not 
your enemy; if you scold me, there's no harm in it. I've 
lived longer than you, and I've seen more sorrow; maybe 
what I say will be good for you. 

Krasnov. It isn't the kind of affair, grandfather, that 
needs advice ! You can't tell me anything. 

Arkhip. You're foolish, foolish! How do you know? 
Are you wiser than the rest of us ? 

Krasnov. Please stop. I can't discuss with you. What 
do you want? 

Strikes the spoon against the bowl angrily. Lukerya 
enters, places a bowl of mush on the table, and goes 

Arkhip. Your wife is wiser than you, really wiser. 

Krasnov. If she were wise she'd obey her husband. 

Arkhip. Not necessarily ! One can't be on one's guard 
every minute ! Don't you hold anger for every little thing. 
One wrong — is no wrong; and two wrongs — a half wrong; 
it takes three wrongs to make a whole wrong. 

Krasnov. What wrongs ! All wrongs aren't the same. 
For some wrongs strangling would be mild. 

Arkhip. What makes you so fierce? Nowadays, they 
don't hang a man even for highway robbery. 

scene iv SIN AND SORROW 191 

Krasnov. I can't even eat my food. 

Arkhip. You have a terrible temper! I began to talk 
about your wife; that wasn't just for the sake of saying some- 
thing. She came to her senses before you did. [Krasnov 
listens] "Grandfather Arkhip," says she, "put in a word 
for me to my husband! I love him," says she, "but I'm 
afraid of his temper. He seems to think me bad without 
any reason. I wouldn't exchange him for any one," says 
she. "I'd try to please him in every way, just so he for- 
gives me and doesn't get angry." 

Krasnov. Is that true? 

Arkhip. Have you gone absolutely crazy? Do you 
think I'd turn liar in my old age? She'd have told you 
herself; she wants to bow down to you but, you see, she's 
ashamed, and then she's afraid. 

Krasnov. [Rising] Grandfather Arkhip, understand me! 
You know how I love her, there's no need telling! Until 
this happened, we lived together very comfortably; you all 
saw how I simply doted on her. Now that this gentleman 
has come I see that he talks in too free and easy a way with 
her; and that made me angry. Would you believe me, I 
didn't know what I was doing or saying. When she went 
to him, I waited half an hour — she didn't return; I waited 
an hour — she didn't return; I became furious; my very 
teeth began to chatter. Here I was imagining all sorts of 
things ! Maybe I'm doing her wrong, am unjust to her; 
maybe she meant nothing; but what was there to do? I'm 
consumed with a fire, absolutely consumed. I wronged her, 
I admit; but was it easy for me? If you'd told me that 
she'd just died — I don't know what I'd do with myself, but 
it would be easier; then no one could take her from me. 
[Weeps] Some want money or reputation, but I need nothing 
except her love. Give me the choice: Here, Krasnov, you 

192 SIN AND SORROW act in 

can have gold-mines and royal castles, if you'll only give up 
your wife; or here, you can have a roofless mud hut, all sorts 
of hard work, but you may live with your wife. I won't 
utter a sound. I'll carry water on my back, just to be with 
her always. So listen, grandfather ! Is it strange that with 
my hot temper I hurt her ? If there's no love, then there's 
no anger. But you tell me that she herself wants to bow 
down to me ! Such happiness can't come to me even in a 
dream. Certainly that is a load off my shoulders. It seems 
as though I'd just been born into the world ! Thank you, 
grandfather Arkhip ! I was a dead man and you brought 
me to life again ! I had such thoughts in my head that I 
can't make up for them by praying all my life. The devil 
was surely near me. Not only did he whisper in my ear, 
but— it's a sin to say it — [in a loio voice] he might have made 
me raise my arm. 

Arkhip. What ! At whom ? 

Krasnov. Well, what's past is past. God preserve me 
from such torment in the future ! I wouldn't wish such for 
my enemy. 

Arkhip. You'd better calm your heart ! 

Krasnov. Ah, grandfather ! I'd be glad to, but one can't 
restrain oneself. All at once your eyes become clouded, your 
head whirls, it seems as if some one were gripping your heart 
with his hand and you can think only of misfortune and sin. 
You walk about as if half crazed, and see nothing all around 
you. But now when your anger has calmed down, then you're 
at ease, as if nothing had happened. [Lukerya comes in and 
takes the bowl from the table] Where's Tatyana Danilovna ? 

Lukerya. She's there, in the kitchen. 

Krasnov. Why in the kitchen ? What is she doing there ? 
The kitchen is no place for her to sit in ! Call her in here. 
Lukerya goes out. 

scene v SIN AND SORROW 193 

Afonya. [In a low voice to Arkhip] Grandfather, will she 
bow down to brother's feet or not? If not, then I'll leave. 
Arkhip. As they please, that's not our business ! 
Enter Tatyana and Lukerya. 


Krasnov, Tatyana, Lukerya, Arkhip, and Afonya 

Tatyana. Did you call me? 

Krasnov. Yes, because the kitchen is no fit place for you 
to sit in. 

Arkhip. I have spoken to him, Tatyana; now do as you 
like yourself. 

Tatyana. Lev Rodionych! If I've done you any wrong 
whatever, please pardon me. If you wish it, I'll bow down 
to your feet. 

Krasnov. No, why should you? I can feel it without 
your doing that. I could never allow you to do that — to 
bow down before me ! What kind of man would I be then ? 

Tatyana. I'm willing to do anything, only do not be angry 
with me. 

Krasnov. I need nothing but your word. You gave your 
word — that's enough; it's my duty to believe you. 

Tatyana. Then you're not angry with me? 

Krasnov. Not at all ! I'm not a man of polished man- 
ners; in my excitement I stormed — but don't take it ill of 
me; I did it because I was fond of you. 

Lukerya. Oh, stop ! Who could take it ill of you ? 

Tatyana. I've already forgotten it. Your words didn't 
hurt me so much as that you didn't even look at me to-day. 

Arkhip. Well, now they've made up ! What's the use of 
thrashing over old scandals ! Now kiss, as you should. 
Now everything will go on as it ought. 

194 SIN AND SORROW act in 

Tatyana. We won't fuss over that, grandfather. I'll be 
very glad to. I wanted to long ago, but I didn't know how 
it would please Lev Rodionych. 

Krasnov. If it's a pleasure to you, it's a double one for 
me ! [They kiss each other. 

Lukerya. I've always marvelled, Lev Rodionych, to see 
how sister loves you. 

Krasnov. What's there to marvel at? 

Lukerya. I know her, Lev Rodionych, better than you 
do. She's of a quiet temperament and can't tell you every- 
thing; but you just ought to know what her real feelings are. 

Krasnov. That makes it more pleasant still. 

Lukerya. She would have liked to tell you how much she 
loved you; but she's so timid that she can't. 

Krasnov. [To his wife] Why are you timid with me? I'm 
only an ordinary man. 

Lukerya. We are so naturally. 

Krasnov. [To his wife] Then be kind enough not to be 
afraid of me in the future. That would trouble my con- 
science. Am I a bogie? 

Tatyana. I'll not be afraid of you any more, Lev Rodi- 
onych; I'll love you. 

Lukerya. Other women would make you all sorts of 
promises that they didn't mean a bit, but my sister — she's 

Krasnov. Now I can understand you. There were times 
when I didn't know just how to approach you — whether 
you'd be pleased or not ! 

Tatyana. You always please me. 

Afonya. Come, Grandfather Arkhip, let's go out on the 
street ! 

Arkhip. As you wish; come on ! Now, thank God, we 
again have peace and love. It's good when there's agreement 

scene vi SIN AND SORROW 19S 

in the house ! It's good, children, good ! [Going out] The 
demon has vanished under the earth, and God walks on the 
earth ! [Goes out 

Lukerya. I just looked in here and now I must go some- 
where else. [Goes out. 


Krasnov and Tatyana 

Krasnov. [Sitting down on the bench] Ah, Tatyana Dani- 
lovna, if God would only grant that we might live our en- 
tire lives in such harmony as now ! 

Tatyana. [Sitting down beside him] We will. 

Krasnov. If you were always so kind, you could fairly 
twist me round your finger. You can do anything with me 
by kindness, Tatyana Danilovna. 

Tatyana. [Placing her hand on his shoulder] I don't need 
anything from you; I'm satisfied with everything. But don't 
think ill of me. Why were you so jealous ? 

Krasnov. [Embracing her] So you were offended ! [Looking 
at her lovingly] You're my dear ! Whatever is dear to one 
he guards. Why, you're dearer to me than everything in 
the world! What a wife you are! Who else has such a 
one? You're the envy of the whole city — don't I see that? 
Who would want to lose such a wife ? In the first place, it's 
just like tearing a piece out of his heart; and secondly with 
their taunts and reproaches they would give me no peace, 
drive me wild. I must tell you, I love you more than my 
soul, and I had no intention of abusing you, but — how can I 
explain it? — I can't help having notions. 

Tatyana. Don't have them. 

Krasnov. That's all over now. 

Tatyana. [Kindly] Don't you insult me by watching me! 

196 SIN AND SORROW act hi 

Krasnov. I tell you that's all past ! Give me a good hard 
kiss! [They kiss each other] That's right! Now tell me why 
you love me? How can you be so attached to me? 

Tatyana. I just love you, that's all. 

Krasnov. No, do tell me! It does me good to hear it 
from you. I want to know what there is in me that could 
make such a beauty fall in love with me. Did I please you 
by my wit or by something else? 

Tatyana. By everything. Who could say anything bad 
of you ? Everybody knows you're a good man. 

Krasnov. And what else? 

Tatyana. You're very kind, and you don't begrudge me 

Krasnov. That's the talk! [Embraces her fervently and 
kisses her] Well, love me still more and then I'll be still kinder. 
What are you frowning at ? Did I muss you a little ? 

Tatyana. You're holding me too tight. 

Krasnov. Oh, for the Lord's sake ! I just can't help it ! 
I squeeze you the way I love you. It's right from the heart, 
no humbug. I don't suppose you're made of sugar; you 
won't fall to pieces. 

Tatyana. That's all right. 

Krasnov. I know you didn't mean anything. What's 
there to complain of ! No need to get angry at such treat- 
ment ! Isn't that so ? 

Tatyana. You know yourself, why ask ! 

Krasnov. Such is life with a good woman ! Peaches and 
cream ! Simply lovely ! Nothing on earth is bettor ! What 
is the reason that you're so precious to us men? 

Tatyana. I don't know. 

Krasnov. It's the work of Providence — truly, of Provi- 
dence! It's beyond our understanding! We know one 
thing, that — if you're attached to your wife, that's enough. 

scene vii SIN AND SORROW 197^ 

If you're once attached, then that's all. Now that we're 
friends, the house might burn down over my head. [Kisses 
her] To-day I'll go and collect some money, and to-morrow 
I'll buy you a new outfit. 

Tatyana. What for ? You don't need to. 

Krasnov. If I say I'll buy it, then. that's my affair. So 
I do need to buy it. You attend to your business; comfort 
your husband! And I'll attend to mine. [Looking at his 
watch] Oh, there's lots of time! I'd better go! I wish I 
didn't have to leave you. 

Tatyana. Don't go ! 

Krasnov. Don't you really want me to go? Don't act 
spoiled ! Business before pleasure ! If I don't make the 
collection to-day, I can't get my money for a whole week. 
It's so far to go, too ! I wish he'd — Why, it's on the other 
side of the river ! It'll take an hour; confound him ! [Takes 
his cap] So you don't want me to go? 

Tatyana. Of course not ! 

Krasnov. Oh, what a woman you are! [Embraces her] I 
know your kind, and very well too ! You just wait for me 
an hour, you'll live through it ! [Kisses her] Good-by ! Other- 
wise I'd really be bound to stay with you. You women were 
created for man's temptation in this world ! f Starts off. 

Tatyana. Come back soon ! 

Krasnov. I'll be back 'fore you can count ten ! Speaking 
seriously, I can't return within an hour. [He goes out. 


Tatyana alone 

Tatyana. [As soon as her husband goes] Well, good-by ! 
At last he's gone ! I'm unfortunate, unfortunate ! They 
say one ought to love one's husband; but how can I love 

198 SIN AND SORROW act m 

him? He's vulgar, uneducated — and he fondles me as a 
bear would ! Sits there — and swaggers like a peasant; and 
I have to pretend to love him, to humor him ; how disgusting ! 
I'd give anything on earth not to have to do that. But 
how can I help it! I have to submit to one I don't love! 
[Silence] I wonder where everybody is ? Here I am all alone ! 
Such loneliness! [Sits down at the window] Even the streets 
are deserted, and there's no one to look at. Where's my 
sister ? [Sings softly. 

"O, mother I'm sad ! 
Sad, my lady ! 
My heart is cast down, 
Cast down and aching; 
My beloved knows not 
How my heart is bleeding.'* 


Tatyana and Lukerya 

Lukerya. What, is he gone? 

Tatyana. Yes. 

Lukerya. Far? 

Tatyana. Across the river. 

Lukerya. Will he be long? 

Tatyana. He said, not sooner than an hour. 

Lukerya. Now you might run over. I was just there — 
he's waiting. He leaves to-day. 

Tatyana. Surely not to-day? How can that be, Lusha, 
my dear ? He didn't tell me. If I could only see him ! 

Lukerya. Take my kerchief and cover yourself all up 
with it. It's so dark outside that no one will know you. 

Tatyana. You think it'll be all right? 

scene ix SIN AND SORROW 199 

Lukerya. If you're afraid of the wolf don't go into the 
woods. It isn't far, you can run over in a minute. But 
don't stay too long ! 

Tatyana. No, no, of course I shan't. [Puts the kerchief on. 

Lukerya. You'd better be watching out! God forbid 
that Lev Rodionych should return first. What should I do 
then ! Shall I say that you went for some thread to a neigh- 
bor? It'll be lucky if he believes it. What did you say to 
him when you were alone ? 

Tatyana. What did I say — I don't know; and what I'm 
doing now — I can't understand. 

Lukerya. Well, run along ! run along ! 
Tatyana goes out. 


Lukerya and later Afonya 

Lukerya. [At the window] Just look at her ! She's flying 
like an arrow. Who'd scheme for her if I didn't ? She's a 
pretty girl, only she hasn't any sense, and that's bad. She 
has to be taught everything; she has to be looked after as 
though she were a small child. If I hadn't advised her to 
make up with her husband, what would have happened? 
Quarrel and abuse. She probably wouldn't have wanted to 
give in; then there'd have been a continual squabble in the 
house and scandal among the neighbors. But now she can 
do as she likes; everything will be smoothed over. 
Enter Afonya. 

Afonya. Where is Tatyana ? Where is she, where is she ? 

Lukerya. What do you want her for? 

Afonya. I need her. Tell me, where? Tell me, where? 

Lukerya. Probably in the garden. 

200 SIN AND SORROW act in 

Afonya. Why are you fooling me ? For once in your life 
tell the truth ! Has she gone ? Speak, has she gone ? 

Lukerya. Maybe she has gone. 

Afonya. Did she just slip out of the gate? 

Lukerya. Probably it was she. Wasn't it for thread she 
went? She's been wanting to run over to the neighbor's 
for some time. 

Afonya. For thread ? 

Lukerya. Well, yes, for thread. 

Afonya. You lie, lie ! 

Lukerya. Leave me alone ! Why are you worrying me ? 
Why did you leave grandfather? 

Afonya. That's none of your business. I know where 
she went. You're devils. You've deceived brother. I 
saw it long ago in your eyes; in your eyes flames flickered, 
devilish flames ! 

Lukerya. My, but you're a malicious imp ! 

Afonya. You just wait, just wait ! You'll get sick of de- 
ceiving us; I'll show you up. 

Lukerya. Don't threaten ! We're not afraid of you. 

Afonya. [With tears] Heavens ! My God ! What's all 
this? What a man it is they're deceiving before his very 
eyes ! [Runs out. 



A street before Prokofyevna's house. Twilight 

Ulyana and Prokofyevna come out of the gate 

Prokofyevna. What is it, Ulyana! What is it! How 
is it possible ! Don't think of such a thing ! You just 
imagined it. Believe me, you just imagined it. 

Ulyana. Say what you like about imagining ! Thank 
Heaven, I'm not blind yet. Not to recognize her ! Why, 
I'd pick her out of a thousand by her dress. We have only 
one style for our clothes; on holidays we don't wear the 
clothes she does on week-days. You and I were just coming 
out of the door, and she was just going in to see him. 

Prokofyevna. I tell you it's a mistake. It's true, she 
isn't without faults. There's a woman here who comes to 
him, and looks like her, but it isn't she. What's that to 
me! Wouldn't I tell you? But if it isn't true, then why 
talk nonsense ? 

Ulyana. You're just helping them out. 

Prokofyevna. Don't tell wrong stories, Ulyana; don't 
tell wrong stories ! 

Ulyana. But where's the wrong, Prokofyevna ! She's 
equal to it; because I know her. It's too bad brother has 
given her so much freedom. I wouldn't have thought of 
saying such a thing of another, but it isn't a sin to say it of 
her. If not to-day then to-morrow she'll begin to raise 

202 SIN AND SORROW act iv 

trouble that will never come to an end. She'll hoodwink 
brother. If you only knew how she's insulted me. 

Prokofyevna. Is that so? 

Ulyana. May I die in my tracks if she didn't! She's 
changed brother so that now he fairly growls at me. "I 
won't have anything to do with you," says he. That's the 
sort she is ! Just you wait, my dear ! I'm not like some. 

Prokofyevna. That's enough for you ! What's the good 
of your mixing in ! She's the mistress in her house, and 
you are in yours. 

Ulyana. To the deuce with her ! I've nothing to do with 
her. But it hurts me, Prokofyevna, that she upsets brother, 
and estranges him from his whole family. 

Prokofyevna. Well, that's your business; you'll settle 
accounts somehow. Are you going home now? 

Ulyana. Yes, my dear; it's supper-time. My boss is 
probably storming and pacing the floor by now. Come and 
see us ! 

Prokofyevna. Good-by. 

They kiss each other. Prokofyevna goes out through 
the gate. 


Ulyana and later Afonya 

Ulyana. Who knows whether Prokofyevna was lying or 
not. You can't believe her; she's a rogue. I'd give a lot 
to find out for certain if she's now with the gentleman or 
not. Will it hurt to wait? If she stays long, my husband 
will make such a fuss that I won't forget it for a month of 
Sundays. You're lucky that I'm in a hurry, or I'd watch 
out for you. [Goes out. She meets Afonya] Afonya, where 
are you going? 

scene in SIN AND SORROW 203 

Afonya. Go away, leave me alone ! Leave me alone ! 

Ulyana. Is Tatyana at home? 

Afonya. No, she's gone. 

Ulyana. Then she's here at the gentleman's; I just saw 

Afonya. At the gentleman's ? Heavens ! Have people 
no sense of shame ! 

Ulyana. I've got to run home; I'll tell my husband, then 
I'll call at your house. [Going away] Wait, brother, wait ! 
I'll get even with you for your insults ! [Goes out. 

Afonya. Heavens ! I haven't any strength ! How is one 
to live in such a world ? This is a punishment for bur sins ! 
Left her husband for a stranger ! She was sitting in a corner 
starving; we took care of her, gave her fine clothes bought 
with hard-earned money ! Brother denies himself, denies 
his family, and gives her cash to buy rags, and now she and 
a stranger are cursing us for the shelter we gave her. It 
makes me sick ! Why don't I die ! I'm shedding tears of 
blood. We've warmed a viper in our bosom. [Leans against 
the fence] I'll wait, I'll wait. I'll tell her everything, every- 
thing that's seething in my heart. 

Babayev and Tatyana come out of the gate ; Afonya 
hides behind a corner. 


Afonya, Babayev, and Tatyana 

Babayev. What are you afraid of? There's not a soul 
on the street. Why are you in such a hurry? It isn't half 
an hour since you came. 

Tatyana. No, no ! Somehow I feel uneasy. 

Babayev. I don't understand why you are so afraid. 
Well, your husband will scold and that's all. 

204 SIN AND SORROW act iv 

Tatyana. I was late the time before; how terribly he 
acted; I thought he'd kill me. He makes me afraid, fright- 
fully afraid ! [Silence] Shall you return soon ? 

Babayev. In a week, in ten days at most. 

Tatyana. Oh, how has this come about ! Oh, if we had 
what we wanted: you'd go to the country — and I'd go there 
too; you'd go to St. Petersburg — and I'd follow you. 

Babayev. I asked you to come with me. 

Tatyana. It's all right for you. You're a free man, while 
I'm no better than a captive. That's my trouble. I've 
thought more than once how I could run away to you. 

Babayev. That's good. 

Tatyana. Just think how unfortunate my life is : in order 
to have a little pleasure I have to deceive my husband. It's 
all deceit and deceit ! But what's the use of deceiving ? It 
disgusts me; it's not in my character. If my husband 
guessed that I didn't love him, then he'd kill me with scold- 
ing and reproaches. ' I very well understand that I can't be 
a real wife to him, and that I'm not wanted by his family; 
and they'd rather I were anywhere else; but who can I 
explain that to, who'd understand it ! Just see how rough 
and stern they are, and I'm not used to sternness. What 
a life, when there's no freedom ! 

Babayev. Tanya, I'll tell you what to do ! Tell him out- 
right that you don't want to live with him. You and your 
sister rent a house, and I'll send you the money. 

Tatyana. That's impossible. Not to be thought of ! 
Do you think he'd let me go? He doesn't care if I die — 
so long as I'm with him — before his eyes. It would be better 
for me to leave quietly. 

Babayev. Very well, leave quietly. 

Tatyana. Really, I don't know. We're all brave when 
it's a matter of words, but when it comes to action, then 

scene m SIN AND SORROW 205 

you lose your reason, especially such as I. Do as you wish. 
I'll do as you advise me. If you love me, you won't want 
to cause my ruin. 

Babayev. Of course not. 

Tatyana. They're right when they say that all women are 
insane; I married of my own accord — nobody forced me — 
so now I ought to live according to my vows; but I'm drawn 
to you, and want to escape from my home. It's all your 
fault, Valentin Pavlych; home has become disgusting to me 
because of you. If it weren't for you, I'd manage to live 
somehow with my husband; at least I shouldn't know this 

Babayev. A fine life ! You have much to regret ! 

Tatyana. But is my life agreeable now? Of course I 
ought not to blame you much, because I'm entirely to blame 
myself. You have nothing to worry about ! Yours is a 
man's affair, and no one will condemn you; but we have to 
suffer for every single thing. But what's to be done ! It's 
too late to argue who's in the right and who's to blame; but 
I guess this affair had to happen. But don't you deceive 
me; come back ! 

Babayev. Oh, stop ; what do you mean ! Certainly I'll 
come back. 

Tatyana. [Kissing him] Good-by ! It's time for me to 
go ! My, how I'm shivering ! My legs fairly totter under 

Babayev. Calm yourself a little. Come, I'll walk along 
the bank with you; you'll get home in time. [They go out. 

Afonya. So this, brother Lev, is what you deserted us 
for ! Just look, and enjoy it ! You act like a wild beast 
to those who love you with their whole soul. I'm burning 
up like a candle, I'm wasting away because of love and pity 
for you, and yet I haven't once heard a kind word from you. 

206 SIN AND SORROW act iv 

You doted on your wife, and see what she's up to, the wretch ! 
No, there's no truth in the world, none. [Goes out. 


Same room as in Act III 


Lukerya enters with a candle and places it on a table; later 
Afonya comes in. 

Lukerya. Why doesn't Tanya return ! It's high time. 
She's insane ! She's just glad that she got out of here; she 
doesn't realize that suddenly, when you least expect it, her 
husband may return. Here I am on pins and needles. 
When I hear any one at the door my heart almost stops. 
Every minute seems a year. Afonya torments me too. I 
wonder where he went. Isn't he spying on her ? Of course 
I can find ten replies to every word he says; yet he may 
rouse suspicion. Ah, some one is coming ! Is it possible 
that it's Lev ! Heaven forbid ! I do believe I'll die. [Afonya 
comes in, and, groaning, lies down on the stove-couch] Where 
have you been ? 

Afonya. Never you mind. 

Lukerya. Speak, it won't hurt your voice. 

Afonya. I don't want to talk to you. 

Lukerya. [Caressingly] Don't you feel well, Afonya? 

Afonya. Oh, Heavens ! don't touch me, don't touch ! 
You can't fool me. 

Lukerya. I don't in the least wish to fool you. 

Afonya. You fooled brother, but you can't fool me. No, 

scene ii SIN AND SORROW 207 

Lukerya. I don't understand a bit what you're talking 

Afonya. Oh, I'm exhausted ! Go away : out of my sight. 
Don't torment me. 

Lukerya. You feel worse because you don't appreciate 

Afonya. I don't need it ! I don't need anything. 

Lukerya. Well, then just lie on your couch. Do you 
think I want anything from you ? I only spoke out of sym- 
pathy. [Silence] What a senseless girl; how senseless ! I'm 
all a- tremble. 

Krasnov comes in. 


The same and Krasnov 

Krasnov. Well, here I am. What a trick I've played ! 
The joke's on Tatyana Danilovna. "Expect me in an 
hour," I said, and here I am in half an hour, so she'd be 
surprised. I was invited to tea, but I didn't stay. "Do 
you think I want tea," I said, "when I have a young wife 
at home who's waiting for me !" But where is she? 

Lukerya. I don't know. Somewhere around. Isn't she 
in the garden ? 

Krasnov. Send her in right away, I want to give her a 
present for her kindness to-day. 

Lukerya. Right away, right away. [Goes out. 

Krasnov. [Paces up and down in silence; then speaks to 
himself] Fifty-seven rubles, six and three, nine to Peter 
Ananyev. [Pause] Has she disappeared? [Paces up and 
down in silence] Afonya, do you know where my wife went ? 

Afonya. Don't know. Oh, I feel sick. 

Krasnov. What's she dallying around for? [Goes to the 

208 SIN AND SORROW act iv 

door] Tatyana Danilovna ! Lukerya Danilovna ! They 
don't even answer. What does that mean now? Afanasy, 
where's my wife? 

Afonya. Are you lonesome without her? She'll come, 
don't be afraid. No matter where she's strolling, she'll come 

Krasnov. [At the door] Tatyana Danilovna ! 
Ulyana comes in. 


The same and Ulyana 

Krasnov. Who's that ? Is that you, Ulyana ? 

Ulyana. Yes, brother. 

Krasnov. What do you want? 

Ulyana. Just to call on you, brother, as a relative should. 

Krasnov. I'm in no great need of your calls. 

Ulyana. My feelings, brother, are different from yours; 
I can't help remembering my kindred. Where's your bride ? 

Krasnov. She seems to have gotten lost somewhere here. 
I keep calling her, but can't raise her. 

Ulyana. Maybe she's far away from here, so she can't 
hear your call 

Krasnov. What do you mean by "far" ? I tell you she's 
at home. 

Ulyana. Who said that? Wasn't it her sister, Lukerya 
Danilovna ? 

Krasnov. Yes, maybe it was she. 

Ulyana. And you believed her. Oh, you're simple, simple ! 

Krasnov. Go away, sister ! Keep out of trouble ! 

Ulyana. Come to your senses; what are you shouting for ? 
I saw with my own eyes how she went to the gentleman. 

Krasnov. So that's the kind of family I have ! My luck 

scene iv SIN AND SORROW 209 

sticks in their throats. You're a barbarian, you jealous 
woman. To kill you would be small penalty for your cursed 
tongue ! [Raises his arm to strike her. 

Afonya. [Getting up from the couch] Quieter, you; quieter! 
What are you making a row for? 

Krasnov. I'll hang you both on the same poplar ! 

Afonya. [Shielding his sister] Don't touch her, don't lay 
a finger on her ! She's telling the truth, the absolute truth. 

Krasnov. You lie, you're jealous, both of you ! It isn't 
an hour, I tell you; it isn't an hour since we sat here, kissing 
and embracing, looking into each other's eyes and couldn't 
get enough of it. 

Ulyana. Heavens, he's out of his head ! You've lost 
your mind ! Go and see for yourself if you don't believe us. 

Krasnov. [At the door] Lukerya Danilovna ! 

Ulyana. Call, call; she ran over there, too. 
Enter Kuritsyn. 


The same and Kuritsyn 

Kuritsyn. What are you yelling for, are you teaching 
your wife ? That's good for her, so she won't run away from 

Krasnov. But where is she? Where is she? Spare me; 
you're tearing me to pieces. 

Kuritsyn. She'll come back; she doesn't spend the night 

Ulyana. You'd better calm yourself, brother; sit down. 

Kuritsyn. We'll all wait for her, the lady. 

Krasnov. She petted me, fondled me, pressed me close 
to her heart. 

Tatyana enters quietly and looks around. 

210 SIN AND SORROW activ 


The same and Tatyana 

Kbasnov. Where have you been ? Have you had a good 
time? Speak, don't hide it! Why are you silent? Speak! 
You see: everybody has come to view my shame. 

Ulyana. Why don't you talk, you shameless creature ! 
You think you can get out of it by silence ? We saw how you 
went over there and came back. 

Kuritsyn. Trample on her, brother, trample on her hard; 
she'll talk. 

Krasnov. Don't torment me ! Tell me, what am I to 
think of you? What? Are these people lying? Then I'll 
turn 'em out, head over heels ! Or maybe they're telling the 
truth ? Deliver me from my sinful thoughts ! Tell me, 
which of you is my enemy? Were you there? 

Tatyana. What's the use of lying, since you've all seen 
me. I was there. 

Krasnov. [Beside himself] There, good people, there — 
that's how it is ! What shall I do now ? What can I — 
pardon me, a sinner, for doing you wrong! How other 
men's wives behave, I don't know; but this is the way in 
our family. 

Ulyana. Now we'll watch your pride. How will you 
show yourself among people now, shameless woman ? You've 
disgraced our brother, disgraced him ! 

Afonya. Viper, viper! 

Kuritsyn. What's the use of looking at her ! She ought 
to pay the penalty right off. 
Arkhip comes in. 

scene vi SIN AND SORROW 211 


The same and Arkhip 

Arkhip. What punishment has God sent us? Why so 
much noise ? Is there a fire ? You know I can't see. 

Ulyana. The sweet bride has been up to mischief ! If I 
were in brother's place, I'd take her and crush her. 

Krasnov. Away, away ! Don't, don't anybody lay a 
finger on her ! I'm her husband, so I'm her judge. Now 
tell me, why did you do it ? Why did you go astray ? Were 
you drawn into the net of sin? Perhaps you didn't dream 
of such a thing of your own accord. Perhaps you didn't 
expect it? Or did you rush into sin. of your own free will? 
How about you now? Do you repent or not? Or maybe 
you think that was the right thing to do ? Speak ! Why are 
you silent? Are you abashed before people, or are you 
happy ? Are you ashamed, or are you glad of what you've 
done? Are you made of stone? Roll at every one's feet, 
crucify yourself ! Or will you tell me outright that you did 
it to spite me ! I want to know what to do with you — spare 
you, or kill you. Did you love me at least a little bit; is 
there any reason for my sparing you ? Or did you cheat me 
all the time ? Did I only dream of happy days ? 

Tatyana. [With tears] I'm guilty, Lev Rodionych. I de- 
ceived you. I never loved you, and don't love you now. 
You'd better leave me, rather than have both of us suffer. 
Better that we part ! 

Krasnov. How part ? Where shall we go ? No, you lie ! 
Whom shall I punish for my shame? You say you don't 
love me, and never did, while I went around town and 
boasted that a beautiful lady loved me. How shall I take 
revenge for this insult ? Go in the kitchen ! You can't be 

212 SIN AND SORROW act hi 

a wife, so be a cook ! You couldn't walk hand in hand with 
your husband, so fetch water for him. You have aged me 
in a day, and now I'll make sport of your beauty ! Every 
day that the fair sun rises, you'll get nothing from me but 
slaps and curses all your life; maybe some time when I'm 
angry, I'll kill you like a dog. Some one give me a knife ! 
Tatyana runs out. 

Afonya. Brother ! brother ! She's going, she's going away. 

Krasnov. She won't escape me ! 

Afonya. She's going to the gentleman. I heard them 
planning to go away to the country. 

Krasnov. Who'll take her from me, if I won't give her 
up? Who in the whole world is strong enough to take her 
from me ? If they take her they'll have to tear my arms off. 

Afonya. [Looking out of the door] Brother, she's getting 
ready ! She's leaving, brother ! 

Krasnov. [Pushing him aside] Stand aside! A woman 
leaves her husband only for the grave, for nowhere else ! 
[Goes out. The cry of Tatyana is heard: "Let me go!" 
He comes back] Bind me ! I've killed her. 

Afonya. Serves her right. 

Ulyana. Ah, my dear ! What will happen to you now ? 

Arkhip. Where is he? Where is he? [Afonya leads him] 
What have you done? Who gave you the right? Is she 
guilty only towards you? First of all, she is guilty before 
God; and you, a proud and wilful man, have taken it upon 
yourself to judge ? You couldn't wait for the merciful judg- 
ment of God; so now go to the judgment of man, yourself! 
Bind him ! 

Kuritsyn. He didn't expect it, he didn't foresee it, but 
he fell into sorrow ! Sorrow walks not through the woods, 
but among men. 




Samson Silych Bolshov, 1 a merchant 

Agrafena Kondratyevna, his wife 

Olimpiada Samsonovna (Lipochka), their daughter 

Lazar Elizarych Podkhalyuzin, 2 a clerk 

Ustinya Naumovna, a professional match-maker 

Sysoy Psoich Rispolozhensky, 3 a lawyer 

Fominishna, housekeeper \ . _, , , • 

—, . 7 ) in Bolshov s house 

Iishka, 4 boy J 

1 Samson Strengthson Bigman. 2 Sneaky. 

3 Unfrocked. 4 A nickname for Tikhon. 



Drawing-room in Bolshov's house 


Lipochka is sitting near the window with a booh 

Lipochka. What a pleasant occupation these dances are ! 
Very good indeed ! What could be more delightful ? You 
go to the assembly, or to somebody's wedding, you sit down, 
naturally, all beflowered like a doll or a magazine picture. 
Suddenly up runs a gentleman: "May I have the happiness, 
miss?" Well, you see, if he's a man of wit, or a military 
individual, you accept, drop your eyes a little, and answer: 
"If you please, with pleasure!" Ah! [Warmly] Most fas- 
ci-nat-ing ! Simply beyond understanding ! [Sighs] I dis- 
like most of all dancing with students and government office 
clerks. But it's the real thing to dance with army men ! 
Ah, charming ! ravishing ! Their mustaches, and epaulets, 
and uniforms, and on some of them even spurs with little 
bits of bells. Only it's killingly tiresome that they don't 
wear a sabre. Why do they take it off? It's strange, 
plague take it! The soldiers themselves don't understand 
how much more fascinatingly they'd shine ! If they were to 
take a look at the spurs, the way they tinkle, especially if 
a uhlan or some colonel or other is showing off — wonderful ! 
It's just splendid to look at them — lovely ! And if he'd just 


fasten on a sabre, you'd simply never see anything more de- 
lightful, you'd just hear rolling thunder instead of the music. 
Now, what comparison can there be between a soldier and a 
civilian ? A soldier ! Why, you can see right off his clever- 
ness and everything. But what does a civilian amount to ? 
Just a dummy. [Silence] I wonder why it is that so many 
ladies sit down with their feet under their chairs. There's 
positively no difficulty in learning how ! Although I was a 
little bashful before the teacher, I learned how to do it per- 
fectly in twenty lessons. Why not learn how to dance? 
It's only a superstition not to. Here mamma sometimes 
gets angry because the teacher is always grabbing at my 
knees. All that comes from lack of education. What of it ? 
He's a dancing-master and not somebody else. [Reflecting] I 
picture to myself: suddenly a soldier makes advances to me, 
suddenly a solemn betrothal, candles burn everywhere, the 
butlers enter, wearing white gloves; I, naturally, in a tulle 
or perhaps in a gauze gown; then suddenly they begin to 
play a waltz — but how confused I shall be before him ! Ah, 
what a shame ! Then where in the world shall I hide ? What 
will he think? "Here," he'll say, "an uneducated little 
fool !" But, no, how can that be ! Only, you see I haven't 
danced for a year and a half ! I'll try it now at leisure. 
[Waltzing badly] One — two — three; one — two — three 


Lipochka and Agrafena Kondratyevna 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. [Entering] Ah, ha, shameless 
creature! My heart told me so; before it's fairly daylight, 
before you've eaten God's bread, you start off dancing right 

Lipochka. Now, mamma, I've drunk my tea and eaten 

scene ii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 217 

some curd-cakes. Look here, is this all right? One, two, 
three; one — two 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. [Following her] What differ- 
ence does it make if you have had something to eat ? I sup- 
pose I'll have to keep watching what sinful pranks you're 
up to ! I tell you, don't whirl around ! 

Lipochka. Pooh! where's the sin in that! Everybody's 
doing it nowadays. One, two 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Better knock your forehead 
against the table, but don't fiddle around with your feet. 
[She runs after her] What's the matter with you? Where 
did you get the idea of not obeying ? 

Lipochka. Who told you I didn't obey? Don't meddle; 
let me finish the way I want to ! One, two, three 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Shall I have to run after you 
long, old woman as I am? Ouf ! You've worn me out, you 
barbarian ! Do you hear ? Stop ! I'll complain to your 
father ! 

Lipochka. Right away, right away, mamma! This is 
the last time around ! God created you expressly for com- 
plaining. Much I care for you ! One — two 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What ! you keep on dancing, 
and talk impudently into the bargain ! Stop it this minute ! 
It'll be so much the worse for you; I'll grab you by the skirt, 
and tear off the whole train. 

Lipochka. Well, tear it, and much good may it do you ! 
You'll simply have to sew it up again, and that's all there 
is to it ! [She sits down] Phew ! phew ! my, I'm soaked through ! 
as if I'd been pulling a van ! Ouf ! Mamma, give me a 
handkerchief to wipe off the perspiration. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Wait, I'll wipe it off myself. 
You've half killed yourself ! And it's just as if somebody 
were making you do it. Since you don't respect your 


mother, you might at least respect these walls. Your father, 
my dear, has to make a great effort even to move his legs; 
but you skip about here like a jumping- jack ! 

Lipochka. Go away with your advice ! How can I act 
according to your notions ? Do you want me to get sick ? 
That would be all right if I were a doctor's wife. Ouf ! 
What disgusting ideas you have ! Bah ! What a woman you 
are, mamma, drat it ! Honestly, I sometimes blush for your 
stupidity ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What a darling child you 
are ! Just consider how you're insulting your mother ! Ah, 
you stupid chatterbox ! Is it right to dishonor your parents 
with such words? Was it for this I brought you into the 
world, taught you, and guarded you as carefully as if you 
were a butterfly ? 

Lipochka. You didn't teach me — strangers did; that'll 
do, if you please. You yourself, to tell the truth, had no 
bringing up. What of it? You bore a child — what was I 
then? — a child without understanding, I didn't understand 
the ways of society. But I grew up, I looked upon society 
manners, and I saw that I was far more educated than others. 
Why should I show too much indulgence for your foolish- 
ness ? Why, indeed ! Much reason for it, I must say ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Let up, let up, you shameless 
girl ! You'll drive me out of patience; I'll go straight to 
your father, throw myself at his feet, and say: "Samson, 
dear, there's no living because of our daughter!" 

Lipochka. Yes, there's no living for you ! I imagine so. 
But do you give me any chance to live ? Why did you send 
away my suitor? Could there have been a better match? 
Wasn't he a Coopid? 1 What did you find in him that was 

1 An attempt to reproduce Lipochka' s illiterate pronunciation of the Russian word. 

scene ii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 219 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. He was soft enough; just a 
grinning booby. He came swaggering around, swaggered, 
strutted, strutted. What a rare bird ! 

Lipochka. Yes, much you know ! Of course he's a born 
gentleman; he behaves in a delicate way. They always do 
like that in his circle — But how do you dare to censure such 
people, of whom you haven't any idea? He, I tell you, is 
no cheap merchant. [She whispers aside] My darling, my 
beauty ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Yes, a good darling ! Do 
tell ! Pity we didn't marry you to some circus clown. Shame 
on you; there's some kind of folly in you; you whisper right 
under your mother's nose, just to spite her. 

Lipochka. I've reason enough, because you don't desire 
my happiness. You and pa are only good for picking quar- 
rels and tyrannizing ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. You can think what you 
please. The Lord is your judge ! But nobody feels the 
anxiety for her child that the mother who bore her does ! 
Here you're always posing and kicking up all kinds of non- 
sense, while your father and I worry day and night about 
how to find you a good man, and establish you quickly. 

Lipochka. Yes, easy for you to talk; but just let me ask, 
what good does that do me, if you please ? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. As if you thought I wasn't 
sorry for you ! But what can I do ? Have a mite of patience, 
even if you have been waiting a few years. It's impossible 
to find a husband for you in a second; it's only cats that 
catch mice in a jiffy. 

Lipochka. What have I got to do with your cats ! It's 
a husband I want. What's the use ! I'm ashamed to meet 
my acquaintances; in all Moscow we weren't able to choose 
a husband; other girls kept having all the luck. Wouldn't 


it make anybody sick? All my friends were married long 
ago, and here I am like a kind of orphan ! We found one 
man, and turned him down. Now, look here: find me a 
husband, and find him quick ! . . . . I tell you in advance, 
look me up a husband right off, or it'll be so much the worse 
for you: purposely, just to spite you, I'll secretly scare up 
an adorer; I'll run away with a hussar, and we'll get married 
on the quiet. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What ! What ! You lewd 
creature ! Who drummed such nastiness into your head ? 
Merciful Lord, I can't get my breath ! Ah, you dirty hussy ! 
Well, there's nothing to be done. It's evident. I'll have to 
call your father. 

Lipochka. All you ever say is "father, father ! " You have 
a lot to say when he's around, but just try it when you're by 
yourself ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. So you think I'm a fool, do 
you? What kind of hussars do you know, you brazen- 
faced creature ? Phoo ! Diabolical idea ! Perhaps you think 
I'm not able to make you mind? Tell me, you shameless- 
eyed girl, where did you get that spiteful look ? What, you 
want to be sharper than your mother ! It won't take me 
long, I tell you, to send you into the kitchen to boil the 
kettles. Shame, shame on you ! Ah ! Ah ! My holy 
saints ! I'll make you a hempen wedding-dress, and pull it 
on over your head directly. I'll make you live with the 
pigs, instead of your parents ! 

Lipochka. How's that? Will I allow anybody to boss 
me about ? The idea ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Shut up, shut up, you bab- 
bling Bessie! Give in to your mother! What obstinate 
daring ! Just peep another word and I'll stop your mouth 
with a potato. A beautiful consolation the Lord has sent 
me in you ! Impudent slut ! You're a miserable tomboy 

scene ii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 221 

and you haven't a womanly thought in your head ! You're 
ready, I suppose, to jump on horseback and go off like a 
soldier ! 

Lipochka. I suppose you'll ring in the police, presently ! 
You'd do better to keep still, since you weren't properly 
brought up. I'm absolutely vile; but what are you, after 
all ? Do you want to send me to the other world before my 
time? Do you want to kill me with your caprices? [She 
weeps] Already I'm about coughing my lungs out ! [Weeps. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. [Stands and looks at her] Well, 
stop, stop ! 

Lipochka weeps louder and then sobs. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. I tell you, that'll do! I'm 
talking to you; stop it ! Well, it's my fault; only do stop — 
it's my fault ! 

Lipochka weeps. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Lipochka ! Lipa ! Come, 
come, do stop ! [Tearfully] Now, don't get angry at me — ■ 
[She weeps] A silly old woman — ignorant — [They weep to- 
gether] Please forgive me — I'll buy you some earrings. 

Lipochka. [Weeping] I don't want your old earrings; I 
have a drawer full already. You buy me some bracelets with 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. I will, I will, only please stop 
crying ! 

Lipochka. [Through her tears] I won't stop crying till I 
get married. [She weeps. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. You'll get married, my dar- 
ling; you will! Now, give me a kiss! [They kiss] There, 
Christ be with you ! Now let me wipe away the tears for 
you. [She wipes the tears] Ustinya Naumovna wanted to 
come to-day; we're going to talk a bit. 

Lipochka. [In a voice still rather trembly] Oh, dear, I wish 
she'd hurry up ! 



The same and Fominishna 

Fominishna. Just guess, my dear Agrafena Kondratyevna, 
who's come to call on us ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. I can't say. Do you think 
I'm a witch at guessing, Fominishna ? 

Lipochka. Why don't you ask me? Am I stupider than 
you or mamma? 

Fominishna. The fact is, I don't know how to tell you. 
You're pretty strong on talk; but when it comes to action 
you aren't there ! I asked you, and asked you, to give me 
just a handkerchief — nothing expensive : two heaps of stuff are 
lying around on your closet floor now without any care; 
but it didn't do any good; it's always give it to strangers, 
give it to strangers ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. There, now, Fominishna, I'll 
never make this out till doomsday. 

Lipochka. Let her go; she had a drink of beer after 
breakfast, and so she's getting fuzzy in her head. 

Fominishna. That's all right; what are you laughing at? 
How's it coming out, Agrafena Kondratyevna? Sometimes 
the beginning is worse than the end. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. One can never find out any- 
thing from you ! As soon as you begin to talk, we have to 
stop up our ears ! Now, who was it who came here ? 

Lipochka. A man or a woman ? 

Fominishna. You can never see anything but men ! 
Where in the world did one ever see a man wearing a widow's 
bonnet ? This is a widow's affair — so what should her name 

scene iv IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 223 

Lipochka. Naturally, a woman without a husband, a 

Fominishna. So I was right? And it comes out that it 
is a woman ! 

Lipochka. What a senseless creature ! Well, who is the 
woman ? 

Fominishna. There, there now, you're clever, but no 
guesser; it couldn't be anybody else but Ustinya Naumovna. 

Lipochka. Ah, mamma, how lucky ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Where has she been all this 
time? Bring her in quickly, Fominishna. 

Fominishna. She'll appear herself in a second. She 
stopped in the yard, quarrelling with the porter; he didn't 
open the door quickly enough. 


The same and Ustinya Naumovna 

Ustinya Naumovna. [Entering] Ouf, fa, fa! Why do 
you have such a steep staircase, my jewels ? You climb, and 
climb, and much as ever you get there ! 

Lipochka. Oh, here she is ! How are you, Ustinya Nau- 
movna ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. Don't get in a hurry ! There's peo- 
ple older than you. I want to chatter with your mamma a 
bit first. [Exchanges kisses with Agrafena Kondratyevna] 
How are you, Agrafena Kondratyevna? How did you feel 
when you got up ? How did you pass the night ? All alive, 
my precious ? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Thank the Lord ! I'm alive, 
able to chew; I've been joking with my daughter all the 

Ustinya Naumovna. All about dresses, I suppose. [Ex- 


changing kisses with Lipochka] Well, your turn has come. 
What's this ! It seems as if you had grown stouter, my jewel ! 
Lord bless you ! What could be better than to blossom out 
in beauty ! 

Fominishna. Shame on you, temptress ! You'll give us 
bad luck yet ! 

Lipochka. Oh, what nonsense! It just looks that way 
to you, Ustinya Naumovna. I keep getting punier; first 
it's stomachache, then palpitation of the heart — just like the 
beating of a pendulum. Now I have a sinking feeling, or 
feel kind of seasick, and things swim before my eyes. 

Ustinya Naumovna. [To Fominishna] Come on, you 
dear soul, let's have a kiss now. To be sure, we've already 
exchanged greetings in the yard, my jewel, so we don't need 
to rub lips again. 

Fominishna. Just as you wish. Of course I'm no lady of 
a household. I don't amount to much; all the same I have 
a soul in me, and not just vapor ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. [Sitting down] Sit down, sit 
down, Ustinya Naumovna! Why do you stand up as stiff 
as a bean-pole? Fominishna, go tell them to heat up the 

Ustinya Naumovna. I've had my tea, I've had it, my 
jewel; may I perish on the spot if I haven't; and I've just 
dropped in for a moment. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What are you loafing about 
for, Fominishna? Run off a little more nimbly, granny. 

Lipochka. Let me, mamma, I'll go quicker; look how 
clumsy she is ! 

Fominishna. Don't you meddle where you aren't asked ! 
For my part, my dear Agrafena Kondratyevna, this is what 
I think: wouldn't it be nicer to serve cordial and some her- 
ring ? 

scene vi IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 225 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Cordial's all right, and the 
samovar's all right. Or are you stingy with other people's 
stuff? Well, when it's ready, have it brought here. 

Fominishna. Certainly ! All right ! [She goes out. 


The same, without Fominishna 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Well, haven't you any news, 
Ustinya Naumovna ? This girl of mine is simply grieved to 

Lipochka. And really, Ustinya Naumovna, you keep 
coming, and coming, and no good comes of it. 

Ustinya Naumovna. But one can't fix things up quickly 
with you, my jewels. Your daddy has his eye peeled for a 
rich fellow; he tells me he'll be satisfied with any bell-boy 
provided he has money and asks a small enough settlement. 
And your mamma also, Agrafena Kondratyevna, is always 
wanting her own taste suited; you must be sure to give her 
a merchant, with a decoration, who keeps horses, and who 
crosses himself in the old way. 1 You also have your own 
notions. How's a person going to please you all ? 


The same and Fominishna, who enters and places vodka and 
relishes on the table. 

Lipochka. I won't marry a merchant, not for anything. 
I won't ! As if I was brought up for that, and learned French, 

1 Evidently, Bolshov and his family, like many other wealthy Moscow merchants, 
belonged to the sect of the Old Believers, one of whose dearest tenets is that the sign 
of the cross should be made with two fingers instead of with three. 


and to play the piano, and to dance! No, no; get him 
wherever you want to, but get me an aristocrat. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Here, you talk with her. 

Fominishna. What put aristocrats into your head? 
What's the special relish in them? They don't even grow 
beards like Christians; they don't go to the public baths, 
and don't make pasties on holidays. But, you see, even if 
you're married, you'll get sick of nothing but sauce and 

Lipochka. Fominishna, you were born a peasant, and 
you'll turn up your toes a peasant. What's your merchant 
to me? What use would he be? Has he any ambition to 
rise in the world ? What do I want of his mop ? 

Fominishna. Not a mop, but the hair that God gave him, 
miss, that's it. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. See what a rough old codger 
your dad is; he doesn't trim his beard; yet, somehow, you 
manage to kiss him. 

Lipochka. Dad is one thing, but my husband is another. 
But why do you insist, mamma? I have already said that 
I won't marry a merchant, and I won't! I'd rather die 
first; I'll cry to the end of my life; if tears give out, I'll 
swallow pepper. 

Fominishna. Are you getting ready to bawl? Don't 
you think of it! — What fun do you get out of teasing her, 
Agrafena Kondratyevna? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Who's teasing her? She's 
mighty touchy. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Well, well, if you've got your mind 
set on a nobleman, we'll find you one. What sort do you 
want; rather stout, or rather lean? 

Lipochka. Doesn't matter, it's all right if he's rather 
stout, so long as he's no shorty. Of course he'd better be 

scene vii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 227 

tall than an insignificant little runt! And most of all, 
Ustinya Naumovna, he mustn't be snub-nosed, and he ab- 
solutely must be dark-complexioned. It's understood, of 
course, that he must be dressed like the men in the magazines. 
[She glances at the mirror] Oh, Lord, my hair looks like a 
feather-duster to-day ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Now, my jewel, I have a husband 
for you of the very sort you describe: aristocratic, tall, and 
brown-complected . 

Lipochka. Oh, Ustinya Naumovna! Not brown-com- 
plected, but dark-complexioned ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Yes, much I need, in my old age, to 
split my tongue talking your lingo. What I said, goes. He 
has peasants, and wears a norder about his neck. Now you 
go get dressed, and your mamma and I will talk this thing 

Lipochka. Oh, my dear, sweet Ustinya Naumovna, come 
up to my room a bit later; I must talk with you. Let's go, 

Fominishna. Ha, what a fidgety child you are ! 

[They go out. 


Agrafena Kondratyevna and Ustinya Naumovna 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Won't you have a sip of cor- 
dial before your tea, Ustinya Naumovna? 

Ustinya Naumovna. Don't care if I do, my jewel. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. [Pouring] With my compli- 

Ustinya Naumovna. You ought to drink first, my pearl. 


Agrafena Kondratyevna. I'll look out for myself ! 


Ustinya Naumovna. Ya ! Phoo! Where d'you get this 
decoction ? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. At the wine-shop. [Drinks. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Buy it in bulk, I suppose ? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. By the gallon. What should 
you want to buy in small quantities for ? Our expenses, you 
see, are heavy. 

Ustinya Naumovna. What's the use of talking, my dear, 
what's the use! Now, I've been bustling about, bustling 
about for you, Agrafena Kondratyevna; trudging, trudging 
over the pavement, and at last I've grubbed up a suitable 
man: you'll gasp for joy, my jewels, for a fact. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. At last you're talking sense ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. A man of birth and of standing; such 
a grandee as you never even dreamed of. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. I see I'll have to ask Samson 
Silych for a couple of fivers for you. 

Ustinya Naumovna. That's all right, my jewel, I don't 
mind ! And he has peasants, wears a norder on his neck; 
and as for intellect, why, he's simply a bonanza. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Then, Ustinya Naumovna, 
you ought to have informed him that our daughter hasn't 
got piles of money. 

Ustinya Naumovna. But he doesn't know where to put 
his own. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. That would be good, and jolly 
good; only, look here, Ustinya Naumovna, and just consider 
it yourself, my friend: what am I going to do with a noble- 
man for a son-in-law ? I shan't dare say a word to him; I'll 
be all at sea. 

Ustinya Naumovna. It's a little scary at first, my jewel, 
but afterwards you'll get used to things, you'll manage some- 

scene viii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 229 

how or other. But, here, we must talk a bit with Samson 
Silych; he may even know him, this man of ours. 


The same and Rispolozhensky 

Rispolozhensky. [Entering] I've come to you, my dear 
Agrafena Kondratyevna. I was going to have a talk with 
Samson Silych, but he was busy, I saw; so I thought: now, 
I'll go to Agrafena Kondratyevna. By the way, is that 
vodka, near you? I'll just take a thimbleful, Agrafena 
Kondratyevna. [Drinks. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. With my compliments, my 
dear sir. Please sit down, won't you ? How are you getting 
along ? 

Rispolozhensky. What a life I live ! Well, I'm just loaf- 
ing, Agrafena Kondratyevna; you know yourself, my fam- 
ily's large, business is dull. But I don't grumble; it's a sin 
to grumble, Agrafena Kondratyevna. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. That's the last thing in the 
world to do, my dear sir. 

Rispolozhensky. Whoever grumbles, I think, offends 
against God, Agrafena Kondratyevna. This is the way it 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What are your front names, 
my dear sir ? I keep forgetting. 

Rispolozhensky. Sysoy Psoich, my dear Agrafena Kon- 

Ustinya Naumovna. What does Psoich mean, my jewel ? 
What lingo is that ? x 

Rispolozhensky. I can't tell you positively: they called 
my father Psoy — well, naturally, that makes me Psoich. 

x The name lends itself to the interpretation, "son of a dog (pes)." 


Ustinya Naumovna. But, Psoich, like that, Psoich ! 
However, that's nothing; there are worse, my jewel. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Well, Sysoy Psoich, what was 
it you were going to tell us ? 

Rispolozhensky. Well, it was like this, my dear Agra- 
fena Kondratyevna : it isn't as if it were a proverb, in a kind 
of fable, but a real occurrence. I'll just take a thimbleful, 
Agrafena Kondratyevna. [Drinks. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Help yourself, my dear sir, 
help yourself. 

Rispolozhensky. [Sits down] There was an old man, a 
venerable old man — Here, I've forgotten where it was, my 
dear madam — only it was in some desert spot. He had 
twelve daughters, my dear madam; each younger than the 
other! He didn't have the strength to work himself; his 
wife, too, was very old, the children were still small; and one 
has to eat and drink. What they had was used up by the 
time they were old, and there was no one to give them food 
and drink. Where could they find refuge with their little 
children ? Then he set to thinking this way, then that way. 
— No, my dear lady, that's where thinking won't do any 
good. "I'll go," he said, "to the crossroads; perhaps I can 
get something from charitable people." He sat all day. 
"God'll help you," they told him. Sits there another day. 
"God'll help you!" Well, my dear lady, he began to 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Holy saints ! 

Rispolozhensky. "Good Lord!" he said, "I'm no ex- 
tortioner, I'm no usurer — it would be better," he said, "to 
lay hands on myself." 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Merciful heavens ! 

Rispolozhensky. And lo ! my dear madam, there came a 
dream to him in the night 

scene ix IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 231 


The same and Bolshov 

Bolshov. Ha, you here, sir? What's this you're preach- 
ing here? 

Rispolozhensky. [Bows] I hope you're well, Samson 

Ustinya Naumovna. Why, my jewel! You seem to be 
growing thin. Or have you been crippled somehow? 

Bolshov. [Sitting down] Must be I've caught cold, or 
perhaps my blood's in a bad way. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Well, Sysoy Psoich, and what 
happened to him next? 

Rispolozhensky. Some other time, Agrafena Kondrat- 
yevna, some other time I'll finish telling; I'll run in some 
day about dusk and tell you about it fully. 

Bolshov. What's the matter with you; trying to be sanc- 
timonious ? Ha, ha, ha ! It's time you came to ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. There, now, you're beginning ! 
You won't let us have a heart-to-heart talk together. 

Bolshov. Heart-to-heart talk ! Ha, ha, ha ! But you 
just ask him how his case was lost from court; there's the 
story he'll tell you better. 

Rispolozhensky. On the contrary, it was not lost! 
That's not true, Samson Silych ! 

Bolshov. Then what did they turn you out for? 

Rispolozhensky. This is why, my dear Agrafena Kondrat- 
yevna. I took one case home with me from the court; on 
the way my friend and I just stepped aside — mortal man is 
weak; well, you understand — if you'll permit me to say it, 
into the wine-shop, so to speak. I left it there, and when I 


was rather tipsy, I suppose, I forgot it. What of that? It 
might happen to anybody. Afterwards, my dear lady, they 
missed that case in court; we looked and looked, and I went 
home twice with the bailiff — still we couldn't find it. They 
wanted to bring me to trial, but suddenly I remembered: 
it must be, now, I forgot that thing and left it in the wine- 
shop. I went there with the bailiff, and there it was. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. I declare ! That may happen 
to a sober man as well as to one who drinks. What a pity ! 

Bolshov. How is it they didn't send you off to Kamchatka ? 

Rispolozhensky. To Kamchatka ! But why, permit me 
to ask you, why should they send me off to Kamchatka? 

Bolshov. Why? Because you're drunk and disorderly. 
Do they have to show you any indulgence? Why, you'll 
just kill yourself drinking. 

Rispolozhensky. On the contrary, they spared me. You 
see, my dear Agrafena Kondratyevna, they wanted to try 
me for that very thing — I went immediately to our general, 
and flopped at his feet ! "Your Excellency !" I said. "Don't 
ruin me ! I've a wife," I said, "and little children ! " " Well," 
he said, "deuce take you; they won't strike a man when 
he's down: tender your resignation, so I shan't see you here." 
So he spared me. What now ! God bless him ! He doesn't 
forget me even now; sometimes I run in to see him on a 
holiday: "Well," says he, "how are you, Sysoy Pspich?" 
"I came, your Excellency, to wish you a happy holiday." 
So, I went to the Troitsa monastery not long ago, and brought 
him a consecrated wafer. I'll just take a thimbleful, Agra- 
fena Kondratyevna. [Drinks. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. With my compliments, my 
dear sir. Ustinya Naumovna, let's you and me go out; 
the samovar is ready, I suppose; I'll show you that we have 
something new for the wedding outfit. 

scene x IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 233 

Ustinya Naumovna. I suppose, my jewel, you have heaps 
of stuff ready. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Why certainly. The new 
materials have come, and it seems as if we didn't have to 
pay money for them. 

Ustinya Naumovna. What's the use of talking, my pearl ! 
You have your own shop, and it's as if they grew in your 
garden. [They go out. 


Bolshov and Rispolozhensky 

Bolshov. Well, Sysoy Psoich, I suppose you've wasted 
a good deal of ink in your time on this pettifoggery? 

Rispolozhensky. He, he ! Samson Silych, cheap goods ! 
But I came to inquire how your business is getting on. 

Bolshov. You did ! Much you need to know ! Bah, 
you low-down people ! You bloodsuckers ! Just let you 
scent out something or other, and immediately you sneak 
round with your diabolical suggestions. 

Rispolozhensky. What kind of a suggestion could come 
from me, Samson Silych? What kind of a teacher should I 
be, when you yourself, perhaps, are ten times wiser than I 
am ? I shall do what I'm asked to do. How can I help it ? 
I'd be a hog if I didn't; because I, it may be said, am loaded 
with favors by you, and so are my kiddies. I'm too much of 
a fool to advise you; you know your own business yourself 
better than anybody else. 

Bolshov. Know my own business ! That's the trouble; 
men like me, merchants, blockheads, understand nothing; 
and this just serves the turn of such leeches as you. And 
now you'll besiege me on every side and haunt me to death. 


Rispolozhensky. How can I help haunting you? If I 
didn't love you I wouldn't haunt you. Haven't I any feel- 
ings ? Am I really a mere dumb brute ? 

Bolshov. I know that you love me — you all love us; 
only one can't get anything decent out of you. Here I'm 
worrying, worrying with this business so that I'm worn out, 
if you believe me, with this one anxiety. If I could only get 
it over with, and out of my head. 

Rispolozhensky. Well, Samson Silych, you aren't the 
first, nor the last; aren't others doing it? 

Bolshov. How can they help it, brother? Others are 
doing it. But how do they do it; without shame, without 
conscience! They ride in carriages with easy springs; they 
live in three-storied houses. One of them will build a bel- 
vedere with pillars, in which he's ashamed to show his ugly 
phiz; and that's the end of him, and you can't get anything 
out of him. These carriages will roll away, Lord knows 
where; all his houses are mortgaged, and all the creditors 
will get out of it'll be three pairs of old boots. That's the 
whole story. And who is it that he'll fool ? Just some poor 
beggars whom he'll send out into the world in nothing but 
their shirts. But my creditors are all rich men; what differ- 
ence will it make to them? 

Rispolozhensky. Naturally. Why, Samson Silych, all 
that is in our hands. 

Bolshov. I know that it's in our hands; but are you equal 
to handling this affair ? You see, you lawyers are a rum lot. 
Oh, I know you ! You're nimble enough in words, and then 
you go and mess things up. 

Rispolozhensky. But come now, Samson Silych, if you 
please : do you think this is the first time for me ! As though 
I didn't know that already ! He, he, he ! Yes, I've done 
such things before; and they've turned out fine. They'd 

scene x IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 235 

have sent anybody else long ago for such jobs to the other 
side of nowhere. 

Bolshov. Oho! What kind of a scheme will you get 

Rispolozhensky. Why, we'll see — according to circum- 
stances. I'll just take a thimbleful, Samson Silych. [Drinks] 
Now, the first thing, Samson Shych, we must mortgage the 
house and shops; or sell them. That's the first thing. 

Bolshov. Yes, that positively must be done right away. 
But on whom shall we shove the stuff? Shall it be my 
wife ? 

Rispolozhensky. Illegal, Samson Silych ! That's illegal ! 
It is stated in the laws that such sales are not valid. It's 
an easy thing to do, but you'll have to see that there're no 
hitches afterward. If it's to be done, it must be done thor- 
oughly, Samson Silych. 

Bolshov. That's it: there must be no loose ends. 

Rispolozhensky. If you make it over to an outsider, 
there's nothing they can cavil at. Let 'em try to make a 
row later, and try to dispute good legal papers. 

Bolshov. But here's the trouble: when you make over 
your house to an outsider, maybe it'll stick to him, like a 
flea to a soldier. 

Rispolozhensky. Well, Samson Silych, you must look for 
a man who knows what conscience is. 

Bolshov. But where are you going to find him nowa- 
days? Everybody's watching his chance these days to 
grab you by the collar; and here you want conscience! 

Rispolozhensky. Here's my idea, Samson Silych, whether 
you want to listen to me or not: what sort of a fellow is your 
clerk ? 

Bolshov. Which one? Do you mean Lazar? 

Rispolozhensky. Yes; Lazar Elizarych. 


Bolshov. All right, Lazar; make it over to him; he's a 
young man with understanding, and he has some capital, 

Rispolozhensky. What do you want, Samson Silych, a 
mortgage-deed or a purchase-deed? 

Bolshov. Whichever you can get at the lowest interest 
rate'll suit me. But do the thing up brown and I'll give 
you such a fee, Sysoy Psoich, as'll fairly make your hair curl. 

Rispolozhensky. Set your mind at rest, Samson Silych, 
I know my own business. But have you talked to Lazar 
Elizarych about this thing or not? Samson Silych, I'll just 
take a thimbleful. [Drinks. 

Bolshov. Not yet. We'll talk it over to-day. He's a 
capable lad: only wink at him, and he understands. And 
he'll do the business up so tight that you can't get in a finger. 
Well! we'll mortgage the house; and then what? 

Rispolozhensky. Then we'll write out a statement that 
such and such notes are due, and that we'll pay twenty-five 
kopeks on the ruble : well, then go see the creditors. If any- 
body is especially stubborn, you can add a bit, and if a man 
gets real angry, pay him the whole bill. You'll pay him on 
the condition that he writes that he accepted twenty-five 
kopeks — just for appearances, to show the others. "That's 
the way he did," you see; and the others, seeing the docu- 
ment, will agree. 

Bolshov. That's right, there's' no harm in bargaining: 
if they don't take it at twenty-five kopeks, they'll take it 
at half a ruble; but if they won't take it at half a ruble, 
they'll grab for it with both hands at seventy kopeks. We'll 
profit, anyhow. There, you can say what you please, but I 
have a marriageable daughter; I want to pass her on, and 
get rid of her. And then, my boy, it'll be time for me to 
take a rest; I'll have an easy time lying on my back; and 
to the devil with all this trading ! But here comes Lazar. 

scene xi IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 237 


The same and Podkhalyuzin, who enters 

Bolshov. What do you say, Lazar? Just come from 
town ? How are your affairs ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Oh, they're getting on so-so; thank God, 

sir ! Good morning, Sysoy Psoich ! [Bows. 

Rispolozhensky. How do you do, my dear Lazar Elizarych ! 


Bolshov. If they're getting on, let 'em get. [After a short 
silence] But, look here, Lazar, when you make up the balance 
for me at your leisure, you might deduct the retail items sold 
to the gentry, and the rest of that sort of thing. You see, 
we're trading and trading, my boy, but there's not a kopek 
of profit in it. Maybe the clerks are going wrong and are 
carrying off stuff to their folks and mistresses. You ought to 
give 'em a word of advice. What's the use of fooling around 
without making any profits ? Don't they know the tricks 
of the trade ? It's high time, it seems to me. 

Podkhalyuzin. How in the world can they help knowing, 
Samson Silych? It seems as if I were always in town and 
always talking to them, sir. 

Bolshov. But what do you say? 

Podkhalyuzin. W T hy, the usual thing, sir. I try to have 
everything in order and as it should be. "Now, my boys," 
I say, "look sharp, now. Maybe there's a chance for a sale; 
some idiot of a purchaser may turn up, or a colored pattern 
may catch some young lady's eye, and click!" I say, "you 
add a ruble or two to the price per yard." 

Bolshov. I suppose you know, brother, how the Germans 
in our shops swindle the gentlemen. Even if we're not 


Germans, but orthodox Christians, we, too, like to eat stuffed 
pasties. Ain't that so? Ha? 
Rispolozhensky laughs. 

Podkhalyuzin. Why certainly, sir. "And you must 
measure," I say, "more naturally: pull and stretch ju-u-u-st 
enough, God save us, not to tear the cloth: you see," I say, 
"we don't have to wear it afterwards. Well, and if they 
look the other way, nobody's to blame if you should happen 
to measure one yard of cloth twice." 

Bolshov. It's all one. I suppose the tailor'd steal it. 
Ha? He'd steal it, I suppose? 

Rispolozhensky. He'd steal it, Samson Silych, certainly 
that rascal would steal it; I know these tailors. 

Bolshov. That's it; the whole lot of them are rascals, 
and we get the thanks. 

Rispolozhensky. Quite right, Samson Silych, you're cer- 
tainly speaking the truth. 

Bolshov. Ah, Lazar, profits are rotten these days: it's 
not as it used to be. [After a moment of silence] Well, did you 
bring the paper? 

Podkhalyuzin. [Taking it from his pocket and handing it 
over] Be so good as to read it, sir. 

Bolshov. Just give it here; we'll take a look. 

[He puts on his spectacles and examines the paper. 

Rispolozhensky. Samson Silych, I'll just take a thimble- 

He drinks, then puts on his spectacles, sits down beside 
Bolshov, and looks at the newspapers. 

Bolshov. [Reads aloud] " Crown announcements, and from 
various societies. One, two, three, four, five, and six, from 
the Foundlings' Hospital." That's not in our line: it's not 
for us to buy peasants. "Seven and eight from Moscow 
University, from the Government Regencies, from the Office 

scene xi ITS A FAMILY AFFAIR * 239 

of the Board of Charities." Well, we'll pass that up, too. 
"From the City Council of Six." Now, sir, maybe there's 
something here! [He reads] "The Moscow City Council of 
Six hereby announces: Would not some one care to take in 
his charge the collection of taxes as named below?" That's 
not our line, you have to give security. "The Office of the 
Widows' Home hereby invites — " Let it invite, we won't 
go. "From the Orphans' Court." I haven't any father or 
mother, myself. [Examines farther] Aha ! Here something's 
slipped up! Listen here, Lazar ! "Year so-and-so, twelfth 
day of September, according to the decision of the Commerce 
Court, the merchant Fedot Seliverstov Pleshkov, of the 
first guild, was declared an insolvent debtor, in consequence 
of which — " W T hat's the use of explaining? Everybody 
knows the consequences. There you are, Fedot Seliverstov ! 
What a grandee he was, and he's gone to smash ! But say, 
Lazar, doesn't he owe us something? 

Podkhalyuzin. He owes us a very little, sir. They took 
somewhere between six and eight barrels of sugar for home 

Bolshov. A bad business, Lazar. Well, he'll pay me 
back in full, out of friendliness. 

Podkhalyuzin. It's doubtful, sir. 

Bolshov. We'll settle it somehow. [Reads] "Moscow mer- 
chant of the first guild, Antip Sysoyev Enotov, declared an 
insolvent debtor — " Does he owe us anything? 

Podkhalyuzin. For vegetable oil, sir; just before Lent 
they took about three kegs, sir. 

Bolshov. Those blooming vegetarians that keep all the 
fasts ! They want to please God at other people's expense. 
Brother, don't you trust their sedate ways ! Those people 
cross themselves with one hand, and slip the other into your 
pocket. Here's the third : "Moscow merchant of the second 

240 ' IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act i 

guild, Efrem Lukin Poluarshinnikov, 1 declared an insolvent 
debtor." Well, what about him? 

Podkhalyuzin. We have his note, sir. 

Bolshov. Protested? 

Podkhalyuzin. Yes, sir. He himself s in hiding, sir. 

Bolshov. Well! And the fourth there, Samopalov. 
Why ! have they got a combination against us ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Such an underhanded gang, sir. 

Bolshov. [Turning over the pages] One couldn't get through 
reading them until to-morrow. Take it away ! 

Podkhalyuzin. They only dirty the paper. What a 
moral lesson for the whole merchant corporation ! [Silence. 

Rispolozhensky. Good-by, Samson Silych, I'll run home 
now; I have some little matters to look after. 

Bolshov. You might sit a little while longer. 

Rispolozhensky. No, confound it, Samson Silych, I 
haven't time. I'll come to you as early as possible to-morrow 

Bolshov. Well, as you choose ! 

Rispolozhensky. Good-by! Good-by, Lazar Elizarych! 

[He goes out. 


Bolshov and Podkhalyuzin 

Bolshov. Now consider, Lazar, what trading's like: just 
think about it. You think it's getting money for nothing? 
"Money, not much!" they tell you; "ain't seen any for a 
long time. Take my note," they say. But what are you 
going to get from some people on a note ? Here I have about 
a hundred thousand rubles' worth of 'em lying around, and 

1 Half a yard. 

scene xii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 241 

with protests. You don't do anything but add to the heap 
each year. If you want, I'll sell you the whole pile for half 
a ruble in silver. You'll never catch the men who signed 
'em even with bloodhounds. Some have died off, some have 
run away; there's not even a single man to put in the pen. 
Suppose you do send one there, Lazar, that doesn't do you 
any good; some of 'em will hold on so that you can't smoke 
'em out. "I'm all right here," they say, "you go hang!" 
Isn't that so, Lazar? 

Podkhalyuzin. Just so, that's the way it happens. 

Bolshov. Always notes, notes ! But what on earth is 
a note ? Absolutely nothing but paper, if I may say so. 
And if you discount it, they do it at a rate that makes your 
belly ache, and you pay for it later with your own property. 
[After a brief silence] It's better not to have dealings with 
provincials: always on credit, always on credit; and if he 
ever does bring the money, it's in slick small change — you 
look, and there's neither head nor tail to the coins, and the 
denomination's rubbed off long ago. But do as you please 
here ! You'd better not show your goods to the tradesman 
of this place; any one of 'em'll go into any warehouse and 
sniff and peck, and peck, and then clear out. It'd be all 
right if there were no goods, but what do you expect a man to 
trade in ? I've got one apothecary shop, one dry goods, the 
third a grocery. No use, none of them pays. You needn't 
even go to the market; they cut the prices down worse than 
the devil knows what; but if you sell a horse-collar, you have 
to throw in trimmings and earnest money, and treat the 
fellows, and stand all sorts of losses through wrong weights. 
That's the way it goes ! Don't you realize that ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Seems I ought to realize it, sir. 

Bolshov. There's business for you, and that's the way to 
do it. [Silence] Well, Lazar, what do you think? 


Podkhalyuzin. What should I think, sir? That's just 
as you please. My business is that of a subordinate. 

Bolshov. What do you mean, subordinate? Just speak 
out freely. I'm asking you about the business. 

Podkhalyuzin. Again, Samson Silych, it's just as you 
please, sir. 

Bolshov. You twaddle one thing: "As you please." 
But what do you think? 

Podkhalyuzin. That I can't say, sir. 

Bolshov. [After a brief silence] Tell me, Lazar, on your 
conscience; do you love me? [Silence] Do you love me or 
not ? Why are you silent ? [Silence] I've given you food and 
drink, set you up in the world; haven't I? 

Podkhalyuzin. Oh, Samson Silych! What's the use of 
talking about it, sir ? Don't have any doubts about me ! 
Only one word: I'm just such as you see me. 

Bolshov. What do you mean by that? 

Podkhalyuzin. Why, if you need anybody or anything 
whatsoever, you can count on me. I shan't spare myself. 

Bolshov. Well, then, there's nothing more to be said. 
In my opinion, Lazar, now is the most proper time; we have 
a good deal of ready cash, and all the notes have fallen due. 
What's the use of waiting ? You'll wait, if you please, until 
some merchant just like yourself, the dirty cur, will strip 
you bare, and then, you'll see, he'll make an agreement at 
ten kopeks on the ruble, and he'll wallow in his millions, 
and won't think you're worth spitting at. But you, an 
honorable tradesman, must just watch him, and suffer — keep 
on staring. Here's what I think, Lazar: to offer the cred- 
itors such a proposition as this — will they accept from me 
twenty-five kopeks on the ruble? What do you think? 

Podkhalyuzin. Why, according to my notion, Samson 

scene xii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 243 

Silych, if you're going to pay at the rate of twenty-five 
kopeks, it would be more decent not to pay at all. 

Bolshov. Why, really, that's so. You won't scare any- 
body by a bluff; but it's better to settle the affair on the 
quiet. Then wait for the Lord to judge you at the Second 
Coming. Only it's a heap of trouble. I'm going to mort- 
gage my house and shops to you. 

Podkhalyuzin. Impossible to do it without some bother, 
sir. You'll have to get rid of the notes for something, sir; 
have the merchandise transferred somewhere further off. 
We'll get busy, sir ! 

Bolshov. Just so. Although an old man, I'm going to 
get busy. But are you going to help ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Good gracious, Samson Silych, I'll go 
through fire and water, sir. 

Bolshov. What could be better! Why the devil should 
I scratch around for pennies. I'll make one swoop, and that's 
an end to it ! Only God give us the nerve ! Thanks, Lazar. 
You've treated me like a friend. [He rises] Now, get busy ! 
[He goes up to him and taps him on the shoulder] If you get 
the thing done properly, you and I'll divide the profits. 
I'll reward you for the rest of your life. 

[He goes to the door. 

Podkhalyuzin. I don't need anything, Samson Silych, 
except your peace of mind, sir. I've lived with you since 
my earliest years, and I've received countless favors from 
you; it may be said, sir, you took me as a little brat, to 
sweep out your shops; consequently I simply must be grate- 


Office in the house of Bolshov. Rear centre a door; on the 
left a staircase leading to the floor above. 


Tishka near the front of the stage, with a brush 

Tishka. What a life, what a life ! Sweep the floors before 
daylight ! And is it my business to sweep floors ? Things 
aren't the same here as with decent folks. Now if the other 
bosses have a boy, he lives with the boys; that is, he 
hangs around the shop. But with me it's now here, now 
there, tramp the pavement all day as if you were crazy. 
You'll soon feather your nest — I don't think ! Decent people 
keep a porter for running around ; but at our place he lies on 
the stove with the kittens, or he hangs around with the cook; 
but you're in demand. At other people's it's easy-going; if 
you get into mischief now and then, they make allowances 
for your youth. But at our house — if it isn't he, then it's 
somebody else; either the old man or the old woman will give 
you a hiding; otherwise there's the clerk Lazar, or there's 
Fominishna, or there's — any old rascal can lord it over you. 
What a cursed life it is ! But if you want to tear yourself 
away from the house and go somewhere with friends to play 
three-card monte, or have a game of handball — don't think of 
such a thing ! Now, really, there's something feels wrong in 
my head. [He climbs upon a chair on his knees and looks in 
the mirror] How do you do, Tikhon Savostyanovich ! How 
are you getting along? Are you all top notch? Now, 

scene ii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 245 

then, Tishka, just do a stunt. [He makes a grimace] That's 

what! [Another] Exactly like ■ 

[He bursts out laughing. 


Tishka and Podkhalyuzin, who steals in and seizes him by 
the collar. 

Podkhalyuzin. What are you doing there, you little 

Tishka. What ? You know what ! I was wiping off 

Podkhalyuzin. Were you wiping it off with your tongue ? 
As if you could find any dust on the mirror ! I'll show you 
some dust ! You're showing off ! I'll just warm up the 
nape of your neck so you'll know it. 

Tishka. Know what ? Now what have I done ? 

Podkhalyuzin. What have you done? What have you 
done ? Say another word and you'll find out what ! Just 
let out a peep ! 

Tishka. Yes, a peep ! I'm going to tell the boss, and then 
you'll catch it ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Going to tell the boss ! What's your 
boss to me? Why, if it came to that — what's your boss to 
me! — Why, you're just a kid that has to be taught; what 
were you thinking of ? If we didn't wallop you imps there'd 
be no good come of you. That's the regular way of doing 
things. I, myself, my boy, have come through fire, water, 
and copper pipes. 

Tishka. I know you did. 

Podkhalyuzin. Shhh — you little devil ! [Threatening him. 

Tishka. Ha, just try it ! I'll sure tell, honest to good- 
ness I will. 


Podkhalyuzin. What are you going to tell, you devil's 
pepper-pot ? 

Tishka. What'll I say ? Why, that you scold ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Great impression that'll make! You're 
quite a gentleman ! Come here, sir ! Has Sysoy Psoich 
been here ? 

Tishka. He sure has. 

Podkhalyuzin. Talk sense, you little devil! Was he 
going to come again? 

Tishka. He was that ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Well, you can run along, now. 

Tishka. Do you want any vodka ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Yes, I do. I'll have to treat Sysoy Psoich. 
[He gives money] Buy a bottle, but you keep the change for 
gingerbread. But see that you hurry, so they don't miss 
you here ! 

Tishka. I'll be home before a short-haired girl can twist 
her braids. Off I go, hippity-hop. 


Podkhalyuzin alone 

Podkhalyuzin. What a misfortune ! Here's where a mis- 
fortune has come upon us ! What's to be done now ? Well, 
it's a bad business. Now we can't avoid declaring ourselves 
bankrupt. Well, suppose the boss should have something 
left over; but where do I come in? What shall I do with 
myself ? Sell junk in the second-hand market ! I've worked, 
I've worked about twenty years, and then to be sent ram- 
bling ! Now, how am I going to settle this matter ? Per- 
haps with merchandise? Here, he said to sell the notes. 
[He draws them out and reads them] It must be that it's going 

scene hi IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 247 

to be possible to profit by it. [He walks about the room] They 
say a fellow ought to know what conscience is. Well, of 
course he ought to; but in what sense must he understand 
that? Everybody has conscience where a good man is con- 
cerned; but when the man himself is cheating others, then 
where does your conscience come in? Samson Silych is a 
very rich merchant, and has hatched up this whole business 
now just to kill time, so to speak. But I'm a poor man ! If 
I should make a little extra profit in this business — then 
there can't be any sin in it; because he himself is acting 
dishonorably, and going against the law. And why should I 
pity him? The course is clear; well, don't slip up on it: he 
follows his politics, and you look out for your interest. I'd 
have seen the thing through with him, but I don't feel like it. 
Hm ! — What day-dreams will come into a man's head ! Of 
course, Olimpiada Samsonovna is a cultivated young lady; 
and it must be said, there're none on earth like her; but of 
course that suitor won't take her now; he'll say, "Give me 
money !" But where are you going to get money ? And now 
she can't marry a nobleman because she hasn't any money. 
Sooner or later they'll have to marry her to a merchant. [He 
walks on in silence] I'll raise the dough, and bow to Samson 
Silych. "Samson Silych," says I, "I'm at an age when I must 
think about the continuance of posterity; and I, now, Samson 
Silych, haven't grudged my sweat and blood for your tranquil- 
lity. To be sure, now, Olimpiada Samsonovna is a cultivated 
young lady; but I, Samson Silych, am no common trash; 
you can see for yourself, if you please. I have capital, and 
I'm a good manager in that line." Why shouldn't he give 
her to me ? Ain't I a man ? I haven't been detected in any 
knavery; I'm respectful to my elders. But in addition to 
all that, as Samson Silych has mortgaged his house and shops 
to me, I can frighten him with the mortgage. Knowing as 


I do the disposition of Samson Silych to be what it is, that 
may very easily happen. This is the way with his sort : once 
they get an idea into their head, you simply can't drive it out. 
It's just as when, three years ago, he wanted to shave his 
beard. No matter how much Agrafena Kondratyevna begged 
and wept, "No," he said, "afterwards I'll let it grow again; 
but for the time being I'll have my own way." And he took 
and shaved it. It's the same way with this business; if I 
make a hit with him, or the idea strikes him all right — 
then it's sweet wedding-bells to-morrow, and that's all, and 
don't you dare argue ! I could jump from the tower of Ivan 
the Great for the joy of it. 

Enter Tishka with the bottle. 


Podkhalyuzin and Tishka 

Tishka. [Coming in with the bottle] Here I am ! I've come. 
Podkhalyuzin. Listen, Tishka, is Ustinya Naumovna 
here ? 

Tishka. Up-stairs there. And the shyster's coming. 
Podkhalyuzin. Well, put the vodka on the table, and 
bring some relishes. 

Tishka 'puts down the vodka and brings relishes; then 
goes out. 


Podkhalyuzin and Rispolozhensky 

Podkhalyuzin. Ah, my respects to you, sir ! 

Rispolozhensky. Mine to you, my dear Lazar Elizarych, 
mine to you ! Fine. I think, now, perhaps there's some- 
thing I can do. Is that vodka, near you? I'll just take a 

scene v IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 249 

thimbleful, Lazar Elizarych. My hands have begun to shake 
mornings, especially the right one. When I go to write 
something, Lazar Elizarych, I have to hold it with my left. 
I swear I do. But take a sip of vodka, and it seems to do 
it good. [Drinks. 

Podkhalyuzin. Why do your hands shake? 

Rispolozhensky. [Sits down by the table] From anxiety, 
Lazar Elizarych; from anxiety, my boy. 

Podkhalyuzin. Indeed, sir ! But I suppose it's because 
you're plundering people overmuch. God is punishing you 
for your unrighteousness. 

Rispolozhensky. He, he, he ! — Lazar Elizarych ! How 
could I plunder anybody ? My business is of a small sort. 
I'm like a little bird, picking up small grains. 

Podkhalyuzin. You deal in small quantities, of course? 

Rispolozhensky. You'd deal even in small quantities if 
you couldn't get anything else. Well, it wouldn't matter 
so much if I were alone; but, you see, I have a wife and four 
kiddies. They all want to eat, the little dears. One says, 
"Daddy, give me!" Another says, "Daddy, give me!" 
And I'm a man who- feels strongly for his family. Here I 
entered one boy in the high school; he has to have a uniform, 
and then something else. And what's to become of the old 
shack? — Why, how much shoe-leather you wear out simply 
walking from Butirky to the Voskresensky Gates. 

Podkhalyuzin. That's right, sir. 

Rispolozhensky. And why do you make the trip? You 
write a little petition for one man, you register somebody 
else in the citizen class. Some days you'll not bring home 
half a ruble in silver. I vow, I'm not lying ! Then what're 
you going to live on? Lazar Elizarych, I'll just take a 
thimbleful. [Drinks] "So," I think, "I'll just drop in on 
Lazar Elizarych; perhaps he'll spare me a little change." 

250 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act ii 

Podkhalyuzin. For what sort of knavery, sir? 

Rispolozhensky. What do you mean by knavery ! Come, 
that's a sin, Lazar Elizarych ! Don't I serve you ? I'm 
your servant till the grave; command me what you want. 
And I fixed up the mortgage for you ! 

Podkhalytjzin. See here, you've been paid ! And it's 
not your business to keep harping on the same string ! 

Rispolozhensky. Just so, Lazar Elizarych, I've been 
paid. Just so ! Ah, Lazar Elizarych, poverty has crushed 
me ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Poverty crushed you ! Oh, that hap- 
pens, sir. [He approaches and sits down by the table] Well, 
sir, I have a little extra money; I've no place to put it. 

[Lays his pocketbook on the table. 

Rispolozhensky. What, you, Lazar Elizarych? Extra 
money? I'm afraid you're joking. 

Podkhalyuzin. All joking aside, sir. 

Rispolozhensky. Well, if you have a little extra money, 
why not help a poor man ? God'll reward you for it. 

Podkhalyuzin. But d'you need much? 

Rispolozhensky. Give me just three rubles. 

Podkhalyuzin. Is that all, sir? 

Rispolozhensky. Well, give me five. 

Podkhalyuzin. Oh, ask more ! 

Rispolozhensky. Well, then, if you'll be so good, give 
me ten. 

Podkhalyuzin. Ten, sir ! What, for nothing ? 

Rispolozhensky. Indeed not ! I'll work it off, Lazar 
Elizarych; we'll be quits sometime or other. 

Podkhalyuzin. That's all talk, sir. The snail keeps 
going, and sometime she'll get there ! But here's the little 
business I want to put up to you now: did Samson Silych 
promise you much for fixing up this scheme? 

scene v IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 251 

Rispolozhensky. I'm ashamed to tell you, Lazar Eli- 
zarych ! A thousand rubles and an old coon-skin overcoat. 
No one will accept less than I, by heavens; just go and in- 
quire prices. 

Podkhalyuzin. Well, here's what, Sysoy Psoich; I'll give 
you two thousand for that identical business, sir. 

Rispolozhensky. Oh, Lazar Elizarych, my benefactor! 
I and my wife and children'll be your slaves ! 

Podkhalyuzin. One hundred in silver, spot cash; but 
the rest later upon the completion of the whole business, sir ! 

Rispolozhensky. Now, then, how can one help praying 
for people like you ! Only a kind of ignorant swine could 
fail to feel that. I bow down to your feet, Lazar Elizarych ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Really now, what for, sir? Only, Sysoy 
Psoich, don't run about like a chicken with its head cut off, 
but go in for accuracy — straight to the point, and walk the 
line. Do you understand, sir? 

Rispolozhensky. How can I help understanding ? Why, 
Lazar Elizarych, do you think I'm still a boy? It's time 1 
understood ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Yes, but what do you understand? 
Here's the way things are, sir. Just listen first. Samson 
Silych and I came to town, and we brought along the list 
as was proper. Then he went to the creditors: this one 
didn't agree, that one didn't agree; that's the way, and not 
a single one will take up the proposition. That's the way the 
affair stands. 

Rispolozhensky. What's that you say, Lazar Elizarych? 
Oh ! Just think of it, what a gang. 

Podkhalyuzin. And how are we going to make a good 
thing out of this business now ? Do you understand me, or 

Rispolozhensky. That is, the insolvency, Lazar Elizarych ? 


Podkhalyuzin. The insolvency will take care of itself; 
but I mean my own business affairs. 

Rispolozhensky. He, he, he ! — That is, the house and the 
shops — even — the house — he, he, he ! 

Podkhalyuzin, What's the matter, sir? 

Rispolozhensky. No, sir; that's just my foolishness; I 
was just joking. 

Podkhalyuzin. Fine jokes, indeed ! Don't you joke 
about that, sir. The house is nothing; I have such a dream 
in my head now about that subject, that I must talk it over 
with you at length. Just come to my room, sir. Tishka ! 


The same and Tishka 

Podkhalyuzin. Put all this in order! Well, let's go, 
Sysoy Psoich ! 

Tishka is about to carry away the vodka. 
Rispolozhensky. Wait, wait! Eh, my boy, what an 
idiot you are ! If you see that a fellow wants to drink, just 
wait a bit. You just wait a bit. You're young yet, but you 
just be polite and condescending. Lazar Elizarych, I'll just 
take a thimbleful. 

Podkhalyuzin. Help yourself, only hurry up; I'm afraid 
he'll come. 

Rispolozhensky. Right away, my dear Lazar Elizarych, 
right away ! [Drinks and smacks his lips] But it would be 
better to take it with us. [They go out. 

Tishka arranges something or other; from above de- 
scend Ustinya Naumovna and Fominishna. Tish- 
ka goes out. 

scene vi IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 253 

Fominishna. Now do fix it up for her, Ustinya Naumovna ! 
You see the girl is all worked up; and, indeed, it's time, my 
dear. Youth isn't a bottomless kettle, and they say it gets 
empty. I can say that from my own experience. I got mar- 
ried when I was thirteen; but in another month she'll have 
passed her nineteenth year. Why let her pine away for 
nothing? Others of her age have long since borne children. 
And so, my dear, why let her pine away ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. I keep thinking about that myself, 
my jewel; but the thing isn't held up on my account; I 
have a whole pack of suitors, all right. But, confound it, 
she and her mother are mighty particular. 

Fominishna. Why should they be particular? Well, the 
chief thing is that they should be fresh-complexioned people, 
not bald, and not smell bad; and then anything'll pass, so 
it's a man ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. [Sitting down] Sit down a minute, 
my jewel. I have worn myself out the livelong day; from 
early morning I've been tearing around like a wet hen. 
But, you see, I couldn't neglect anything; I'm an indis- 
pensable person everywhere. Naturally, my jewel, every 
person is a human being: a man needs a wife, a girl a hus- 
band; give it to them if you have to rob the cradle; then 
here and there there's a genuine wedding. And who fixes 
them up ? Why, I do. Ustinya Naumovna has to bear the 
burden for all of them. And why does she have to? Be- 
cause that's the way things are; from the beginning of the 
world, that's the way the wheel was wound up. However, 
to tell the truth, they don't cheat me for my trouble: one 
gives me the material for a dress, another a fringed shawl, 
another makes up a cap for you, and here and there you'll 
get a gold piece, and here and there something better — 
just what the job deserves and they're able to pay. 


Fominishna. What's the use of talking, my dear; what's 
the use of talking ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Sit down, Fominishna; your legs 
are old and rickety. 

Fominishna. Eh ! Haven't time, my dear ! You see, it's 
just awful; because he doesn't come home we're all scared 
to death: he may come home drunk at any time. And then 
what a bad one, good Lord ! Then what a row he'll kick up. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Naturally; a rich peasant is worse 
than the devil to talk to. 

Fominishna. We've seen him do terrible things. One 
night last week he came home drunk. He tore around, and 
what a row ! It was simply awful ; he smashed the china — 
"Ooo!" he said, "I'll kill the whole crowd of you at once!" 

Ustinya Naumovna. Vulgarity ! 

Fominishna. That's the truth, my dear. But I'll just 
run up-stairs, darling — Agrafena Kondratyevna is alone in 
my room. When you're going home, come back to me; I'll 
tie up a bit of ham for you. [She mounts the stairs. 

Ustinta Naumovna. I'll follow, my jewel, I'll follow. 



Ustinya Naumovna and Podkhalyuzin 

Podkhalyuzin. Ah ! Ustinya Naumovna ! It's been ages 
since I've seen you, ma'am. 

Ustinya Naumovna. How are you, dear soul ! How've 
you been ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Oh, able to be around, ma'am. 

[He sits down. 

Ustinya Naumovna. I'll capture a little mamzelle for you 
if you want me to. 

scene vii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 255 

Podkhalyuzin. Thank you kindly — I don't need one yet. 

Ustinya Naumovna. If you don't want one yourself, my 
jewel, I'll do a good turn for your friends. I suppose you 
have friends around town, a whole pack. 

Podkhalyuzin. I have quite a few, ma'am. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Well, if you have, thank the Lord ! 
If you know of a marriageable man, whether he's a bachelor, 
unmarried, or a widower — drag him straight to me. 

Podkhalyuzin. Will you find him a wife ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. I will. Why shouldn't I find him 
a wife? I'll do it in a jiffy. 

Podkhalyuzin. That's very fine, ma'am, But now I 
ask you, Ustinya Naumovna, why do you come here to us 
so confoundedly often ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. What's that to you ? Why shouldn't 
I come? I'm no thief, no sheep without a name. What 
do you mean by that question ? 

Podkhalyuzin. But, really, aren't you wasting your time 
coming ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. Wasting my time ? Where did you 
get that idea, my jewel? Just see here, what sort of a 
husband I've found: an aristocrat, has peasants, and a fine 
young man. 

Podkhalyuzin. Why has the thing come to a halt, ma'am ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. It hasn't come to a halt! He 
wanted to come to-morrow to get acquainted. So we'll 
hitch him up, and it'll all be over. 

Podkhalyuzin. Hitch him up, try it — he'll give you the 

Ustinya Naumovna. What's the matter, are you in your 
right mind, my jewel? 

Podkhalyuzin. You'll see ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. May I die before to-night, but 


you're either drunk, my jewel, or you've wandered clean out 
of your head. 

Podkhalyuzin. Be so good as not to trouble yourself 
about that; you look out for yourself; but I know what I 

Ustinya Naumovna. Well, what do you know ? 

Podkhalyuzin. No matter what I know, ma'am. 

Ustinya Naumovna. If you know something, tell me 
what it is : I suppose your tongue won't fall off. 

Podkhalyuzin. That's the point of the thing — that I 
can't tell it. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Why can't you ? Why do you hesi- 
tate to tell me, my jewel ? Go ahead, talk — it doesn't matter 
what it is. 

Podkhalyuzin. It's not a matter of conscience. But if 
I tell you, of course you'll go and blab ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Curst if I do ! You may chop off 
my hand ! 

Podkhalyuzin. That's it, ma'am; a promise is better than 

Ustinya Naumovna. Of course. Well, what do you know ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Here's what, Ustinya Naumovna: isn't 
it possible to throw over that suitor you've found, ma'am? 

Ustinya Naumovna. What's the matter with you; are 
you gone daft ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Gone daft nothing, ma'am! But if you 
want to have a heart-to-heart talk, honor bright, ma'am; 
then here's the sort of thing it is, ma'am: at my house 
there's a certain Russian merchant I know, who is very 
much in love with Olimpiada Samsonovna, ma'am. "No 
matter what I have to give," says he, "so long as I get mar- 
ried," says he; "I shan't grudge any sum." 

scene vii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 257 

Ustinya Naumovna. Why didn't you tell me about that 
before, my jewel ? 

Podkhalyuzin. There was nothing to tell for the good 
reason that I only just now found out about it, ma'am. 

Ustinya Naumovna. But it's late now, my jewel ! 

Podkhalytjzin. And what a suitor he is, Ustinya Nau- 
movna ! He'll shower you with gold from head to foot, 
ma'am; he'll have a cloak made for you out of live sables. 

Ustinya Naumovna. But, my dear, it's impossible! I'd 
be tickled to death, but I've given my word. 

Podkhalyuzin. Just as you please, ma'am! But if you 
betroth her to the other fellow, you'll bring such bad luck 
upon yourself, that you'll not get clear afterwards ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. But just consider yourself, how'll 
I have the nerve to show my face before Samson Silych? I 
gave it to him hot and heavy: that the fellow is rich, and 
handsome, and so much in love that he is half dead; and 
now what' 11 I say? You know yourself what a fellow Sam- 
son Silych is; you see he'll pull my cap over my ears before 
you know it. 

Podkhalyuzin. Pull your cap nothing, ma'am ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. And I've got the girl all worked up. 
Twice a day she sends to me and asks: "What's the matter 
with my suitor?" and, "What's he like?" 

Podkhalyuzin. But don't you run away from your own 
good fortune, Ustinya Naumovna. Do you want two thou- 
sand rubles and a sable cloak for merely arranging this 
wedding, ma'am? But let our understanding about the 
match be private. I tell you, ma'am, that this suitor's 
such a sort as you've never seen; there's only one thing, 
ma'am: he's not of aristocratic origin. 

Ustinya Naumovna. But is she an aristocrat? Pity if 
she is, my jewel ! That's the way things go these days : 


every peasant girl is trying to worm her way into the nobility. 
— Now, although this here Olimpiada Samsonovna — of course, 
God give her good health — gives presents like a princess, 
yet, believe me, her origin's no better than ours. Her father, 
Samson Silych, dealt in leather mittens on the Balchug; 
respectable people called him Sammy, and fed him with 
thumps behind the ears. And her mother, Agrafena Kon- 
dratyevna, was little more than a peasant girl, and he got her 
from Preobrazhenskoye. They got together some capital, 
climbed into the merchant class — so the daughter has her 
eye peeled for the title of princess. And all that through 
money. How much worse am I than she? Yet I have to 
trot at her heels. God knows what kind of bringing-up 
she's had: she walks like an elephant crawls on his belly; 
whether French or piano, it's a bit here and a bit there, and 
there's nothing to it; and when she starts to dance — I have 
to stuff a handkerchief in my mouth. 

Podkhalyuzin. But, look here — it'd be more proper for 
her to marry a merchant. 

Ustinya Naumovna. But how'll I stand with the first 
suitor, my jewel? I've already assured him that Olimpiada 
Samsonovna is such a beauty, that she's the real ticket for 
him; "and educated," I said, "in French, and is trained in 
all sorts of society ways." And now what am I going to 
say to him ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Why, just tell him also: "Now, she is a 
beauty, and cultivated in a good many ways; only they've 
lost all their money." And he'll break off himself ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Well, now, that's so, my jewel! 
But, no, wait ! You see I told him that Samson Silych is 
rolling in money. 

Podkhalyuzin. See here, you talk too much. But how 
do you know how much money Samson Silych has; you 
haven't counted it, have you? 

scene vii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIB 259 

Ustinya Naumovna. Ask anybody you please; every one 
knows that Samson Silych is the richest sort of merchant. 

Podkhalyuzin. Yes ! Much you know ! But what'll 
happen when, after you've engaged a man of standing, 
Samson Silych won't give any money ? Afterwards the fel- 
low'll come up and say, says he: "I'm no merchant, that you 
can cheat me out of the dowry !" Furthermore, like a man 
of standing he'll file a complaint at court, because a man of 
standing has his own way everywhere, ma'am; then Samson 
Silych and I'll be ruined, and there'll be no getting out of it 
for you. Here, you yourself know you can cheat anybody 
of our sort out of a dowry, that'll work; but just try to fool 
a man of standing, and you'll not get away with it afterwards. 

Ustinya Naumovna. That's enough trying to scare me ! 
You've muddled my head completely. 

Podkhalyuzin. Here, take these hundred rubles in silver 
as earnest-money, and give us your hand on it, ma'am. 

Ustinya Naumovna. And you say, my jewel, two thou- 
sand rubles and a sable cloak? 

Podkhalyuzin. Exactly so, ma'am. Be at rest on that 
score ! — And you'll put on that sable cloak, Ustinya Nau- 
movna, and you'll go out walking — why, anybody will think 
you're a general's wife. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Do you think so? Well, now, in- 
deed ! When I put on that sable cloak, I'll look my perki- 
est, with my hands by my sides; then your bearded friends 
will stare with their mouths wide open. They'll get to sigh- 
ing so that you couldn't stop them with a fire engine; the 
women will all turn up their noses from jealousy. 

Podkhalyuzin. Just so, ma'am ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Give me the earnest-money ! Here 
goes ! 

Podkhalyuzin. But, Ustinya Naumovna, you're doing 
this of your own free will; don't back out. 

260 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act ii 

Ustinya Naumovna. Back out, what for? Just look: 
two thousand rubles, and a sable cloak ! 

Podkhalyuzin. I tell you, we'll make it out of live sa- 
bles. There's nothing more to be said. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Well, good-by, my emerald ! I'll 
run off now to the suitor. We'll see each other to-morrow, 
and then I'll report to you. 

Podkhalyuzin. Wait a minute ! Where're you going ! 
Just follow me — we'll just take a drink of vodka, ma'am. 
Tishka ! Tishka ! [Enter Tishka] You keep a lookout, and 
if you see the boss coming, run for me straight off. 

[They go out. 


Tishka alone. 

Tishka. [Sits down beside the table and takes some money 
out of his pocket] Half a ruble in silver — that's what Lazar 
gave me to-day. And the other day, when I fell from the 
steeple, Agrafena Kondratyevna gave me ten kopeks; I 
won twenty-five kopeks at heads and tails; and day before 
yesterday the boss forgot and left one whole ruble on the 
counter. Gee, here's money for you ! [He counts to himself. 
The voice of Fominishna is heard behind the scene: "Tishka, 
oh, Tishka! How long have I got to call you?"] Now 
what's the matter there? ["Is Lazar at home?"]— He was, 
but he's sure gone now ! ["Well, where has he sneaked to?"] 
How in the world should I know ? He doesn't ask my leave. 
If he had, I'd know. 

Fominishna comes down the stairs. 

Fominishna. You see Samson Silych has come, and seems 
to be tipsy. 

Tishka. Phew ! We're goners ! 

scene ix IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 261 

Fominishna. Run for Lazar, Tishka; there's a dear; run 
quick ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. [Appearing at the head of the 
stairs] What's this, Fominishna dear, where's he bound for? 
Fominishna. This way, I guess, my dear! Ah, I'll close 
the doors, good heavens, I'll close them; let him go up- 
stairs, but you stay here, my dear. 

A knock at the door, and the voice of Samson Silych: 
"Hey! open up; who's there?" Agrafena Kon- 
dratyevna disappears. 
Fominishna. Come in, honey, come in and go to sleep; 
God bless you ! 

Bolshov. [Behind the door] What's the matter with you, 
you old cripple; have you lost your wits? 

Fominishna. Ah, my dear boy! Ah, I'm a blind old 
granny. But, you see, I was fool enough, somehow, to think 
you'd come home tipsy. Forgive me, I've gotten deaf in 
my old age. 

Samson Silych comes in. 

Fominishna and Bolshov 

Bolshov. Has that shyster been cooking up any deviltry 
here ? 

Fominishna. They've cooked cabbage soup with corned 
beef, and roast goose. 

Bolshov. Are you gone daft, you old fool ? 

Fominishna. No, dear! I gave the order to the cook 
myself ! 

Bolshov. Get out ! [He sits down. 

Fominishna goes to the door; Podkhalyuzin and 
Tishka come in. 


Fominishna. [Returning] Ah, I'm a fool, a fool ! Don't 
punish me for my bad memory. The cold roast sucking pig 
had entirely jumped out of my mind. 



Bolshov. Go to the pigs yourself ! [Fominishna goes out. 
To Tishka] What are you gaping at? Haven't you any- 
thing to do ? 

Podkhalyuzin. [To Tishka] You've been spoken to, 
haven't you ? 

Tishka goes out. 

Bolshov. Has the shyster been here? 

Podkhalyuzin. He has, sir. 

Bolshov. Did you talk with him ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Why, Samson Silych? Does he have 
any feeling? Isn't his soul naturally nothing but ink, sir? 
He just thrums on one string — to declare yourself bankrupt. 

Bolshov. If I must declare myself bankrupt, I'll do it, 
and there's an end to it. 

Podkhalyuzin. Ah, Samson Silych, what's that you're 
saying ! 

Bolshov. What ! pay out money ? Where did you get 
that notion ? I will rather burn everything in the fire, before 
I'll give them a kopek. Transfer the merchandise, sell the 
notes, let 'em pilfer, let anybody steal who wants to; but I'm 
not going to pay a kopek. 

Podkhalyuzin. Pardon me, Samson Silych, we had the 
business all going fine; and now everything has to be thrown 
into confusion. 

Bolshov. What affair was it of yours? It ain't yours. 
You just work hard — I'll not forget you. 

scene x IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 263 

Podkhalyuzin. I'm not in need of anything after the 
kindness you have shown me, and you're quite wrong in 
having any such idea about me. I'm ready to give away my 
whole soul for you, and by no means to do anything tricky. 
You're getting on in years ; Agraf ena Kondratyevna is a very 
gentle lady; Olimpiada Samsonovna is an accomplished 
young lady, and of suitable years; and you've got to spend 
some thought on her. But now such are the circumstances; 
there's no knowing what may come of all this. 

Bolshov. Well, what could come of it? I'm the only 
one responsible. 

Podkhalyuzin. Why talk about you ! You, Samson 
Silych, have already had a long life; thank God, you're in a 
ripe old age; but Olimpiada Samsonovna, of course, is a young 
lady whose like can't be found on earth. I'm speaking to 
you conscientiously, Samson Silych; that is, absolutely ac- 
cording to my feelings. If I'm exerting myself on your be- 
half now, and am putting in my whole strength, too, it may 
be said, grudging neither sweat nor blood — then it's mostly 
because I'm sorry for your family. 

Bolshov. Come, really now ? 

Podkhalyuzin. If you please, sir. Now, suppose all this 
ends well. Very good, sir. You'll have something left 
with which to establish Olimpiada Samsonovna. — Well, of 
that there's nothing to say; let there be money, and suitors'll 
be found, sir. Well, but what a sin, Lord save us ! if they 
object, and begin to hound you through the courts; and 
such a stigma falls upon the family, and if, furthermore, they 
should take away the property. Sir, the ladies'd be obliged 
to endure hunger and cold, and without any care, like shelter- 
less birdies. But Lord save them from that ! What would 
happen then ? [He weeps. 

Bolshov. What are you crying about ? 

264 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act ii 

Podkhalytjzin. Of course, Samson Silych, I merely say 
that just for instance — talk at the right time, keep still at 
the wrong time; words don't hurt. But you see, the Old 
Nick is powerful — he shakes the hills. 

Bolshov. What's to be done, my boy? Evidently such 
is the will of God, and you can't oppose it. 

Podkhalytjzin. That's just it, Samson Silych! But all 
the same, according to my foolish way of reasoning, you 
should settle Olimpiada Samsonovna in good time upon a 
good man; and then she will be, at any rate, as if behind a 
stone wall, sir. But the chief thing is that the man should 
have a soul, so that he'll feel. As for that noble's courting 
Olimpiada Samsonovna — why he's turned tail already. 

Bolshov. Turned tail how ? What gave you that notion ? 

Podkahlyuzin. It isn't a notion, Samson Silych. You 
ask Ustinya Naumovna. Must be some one who knows him 
heard something or other. 

Bolshov. What of it ! As my affairs are going now there's 
no need of such a person. 

Podkhalytjzin. Samson Silych, just take into considera- 
tion ! I'm a stranger, and no relative of yours, but for the 
sake of your well-being I know no rest by day or by night, 
my very heart is all withered. But they're marrying to him 
the young lady who, it may be said, is an indescribable beauty; 
and they're giving money, sir; but he swaggers and carries 
it high ! Well, is there any soul in him, after all that ? 

Bolshov. Well, if he don't want her he needn't have her, 
and we won't cry about it. 

Podkhalyuzin. No, Samson Silych, you just consider 
about that: has the man any soul? Here I am, a total 
stranger, yet I can't see all this without tears. Just under- 
stand that, Samson Silych ! Nobody else would care enough 
about it to pine away because of another man's business, sir. 

scene x IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 265 

But you see, even if you drive me out now, even if you beat 
me, still I won't leave you; because I cannot — I haven't 
that kind of a heart. 

Bolshov. But how in the world could you think of leav- 
ing me? You see my only hope now is you. I'm old, and 
my affairs have gotten into a tight fix. Just wait ! It may 
be we'll still swing some kind of a deal such as you're not 

Podkhalytjzin. Oh, I can't do that, Samson Silych. 
Just understand this much: I'm absolutely not that kind 
of a man ! To anybody else, Samson Silych, of course it's 
all the same; he doesn't care whether the grass grows; but 
I can't do that way, sir. Kindly see yourself, sir, whether 
I'm hustling or not. I'm simply wasting away now like 
some poor devil, on account of your business, sir; because 
I'm not that kind of a man, sir. I'm doing all this because 
I feel sorry for you, and not for you so much as for your 
family. You ought to realize that Agrafena Kondratyevna 
is a very tender lady, Olimpiada Samsonovna a young lady 
whose like can't be found on earth, sir 

Bolshov. Not on earth? Look here, brother, aren't you 
hinting around a little? 

Podkhalytjzin. Hinting, sir ? No, I didn't mean, sir ! 

Bolshov. Aha ! Brother, you'd better speak more openly. 
Are you in love with Olimpiada Samsonovna? 

Podkhalytjzin. Why, Samson Silych, must be you want 
to joke me. 

Bolshov. Joke, fiddlesticks ! I'm asking you seriously. 

Podkhalytjzin. Good heavens, Samson Silych, could I 
dare think of such a thing, sir? 

Bolshov. Why shouldn't you dare? Is she a princess 
or something like that ? 

Podkhalytjzin. Maybe she's no princess; but as you've 


been my benefactor and taken the place of my own father — 
But no, Samson Silych, how is it possible, sir, how can I 
help feeling it ! 

Bolshov. Well, then, I suppose you don't love her? 

Podkhalyuzin. How can I help loving her, sir? Good 
gracious, it seems as if I loved her more than anything on 
earth. But no, Samson Silych, how is it possible, sir ! 

Bolshov. You ought to have said: "I love her, you see, 
more than anything on earth." 

Podkhalyuzin. How can I help loving her, sir? Please 
consider yourself: all day, I think, and all night, I think — ■ 
Oh, dear me, of course Olimpiada Samsonovna is a young 
lady whose like can't be found on earth — ■ But no, that 
cannot be, sir. What chance have I, sir ? 

Bolshov. What cannot be, you poor soft-head ? 

Podkhalyuzin. How can it be possible, Samson Silych? 
Knowing you, sir, as I do, like my own father, and Olimpiada 
Samsonovna, sir; and again, knowing myself for what I'm 
worth — what chance have I with my calico snout, sir? 

Bolshov. Calico nothing. Your snout'll do ! So long 
as you have brains in your head — and you don't have to 
borrow any; because God has endowed you in that way. 
Well, Lazar, suppose I try to make a match between you and 
Olimpiada Samsonovna, eh? That indescribable beauty, 

Podkhalyuzin. Good gracious, would I dare ? It may be 
that Olimpiada Samsonovna won't look kindly on me, sir! 

Bolshov. Nonsense ! I don't have to dance to her piping 
in my old age ! She'll marry the man I tell her to. She's 
my child: if I want, I can eat her with my mush, or churn 
her into butter ! You just talk to me about it ! 

Podkhalyuzin. I don't dare, Samson Silych, talk about 
it with you, sir ! I don't want to appear a scoundrel to you. 

scene x IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 267 

Bolshov. Get along with you, you foolish youngster! 
If I didn't love you, would I talk with you like this? Do 
you understand that I can make you happy for life? I can 
simply make your life for you. 

Podkhalyuzin. And don't I love you, Samson Silych, 
more than my own father ? Damn it all ! — what a brute 
I am. 

Bolshov. Well, but you love my daughter ? 

Podkhalyuzin. I've wasted away entirely, sir. My 
whole soul has turned over long since, sir ! 

Bolshov. Well, if your soul has turned over, we'll set you 
up again. Johnny's the boy for our Jenny ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Daddy, why do you favor me? I'm not 
worth it. I'm not worth it ! My poor face would positively 
crack a mirror. 

Bolshov. What of your face! Here, I transfer all the 
property to you; so that afterwards the creditors will be 
sorry that they didn't take twenty-five kopeks on the ruble. 

Podkhalyuzin. You can bet they'll be sorry, sir ! 

Bolshov. Well, you get off to town now, and after a while- 
come back to the girl; we'll play a little joke on 'em. 

Podkhalyuzin. Very good, daddy, sir ! [They go out. 


Setting as in Act I 


Bolshov comes in and sits down in the armchair; for some 
time he looks into the corners and yawns. 

Bolshov. Here's the life; it's well said : vanity of vanities, 
and all is vanity. The devil knows, I myself can't make 
out what I want. If I were to take a snack of something, 
I'd spoil my dinner, and if I sit still I'll go crazy. Perhaps 
I might kill a little time drinking tea. [Silence] Here's all 
there is to it; a man lives, and lives, and all at once he dies 
and he turns to dust. Oh, Lord, oh, Lord ! 

[He yawns and looks into the corners. 


Agrafejsta Kondratyevna comes in with Lipochka, who is 
very much dressed up. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Get along, get along, my dar- 
ling; don't catch yourself on the sides of the doorway. Just 
look, Samson Silych, my dear lord and master, and admire 
how I've rigged up our daughter ! Phew ! go away ! What 
a peony-rose she is now ! [To her] Ah, you little angel, you 
princess, you little cherub, you ! [To him] Well, Samson 
Silych, isn't it all right? Only she ought to ride in a six- 
horse carriage. 

Bolshov. She'll go in a two-horse carriage — she's no high- 
flying proprietress. 


scene ii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 269 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. To be sure, she's no general's 
daughter, but, all the same, she's a beauty ! Well, pet the 
child a little; what are you growling like a bear for? 

Bolshov. Well, how do you want me to pet her? Shall 
I lick her hands, or bow down to her feet? Fine circus, I 
must say ! I've seen something more elegant than that. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. But what have you seen? 
No matter what; but this is your daughter, your own child, 
you man of stone ! 

Bolshov. What if she is my daughter ? Thank God she 
has shoes, dresses, and is well fed — what more does she 
want ? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What more! Look here, 
Samson Silych, have you gone out of your head ? Well fed ! 
What if she is well fed ! According to the Christian law we 
should feed everybody; people look after strangers, to 
say nothing of their own folks. Why, it's a sin to say 
that, when people can hear you. Anyhow, she's your own 

Bolshov. I know she's my own child — but what more 
does she want? What are you telling me all these yarns 
for ? You don't have to put her in a picture-frame ! I 
know I'm her father. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Then, my dear, if you're her 
father, then don't act like a stepfather ! It's high time, it 
seems to me, that you came to your senses. You'll soon 
have to part with her, and you don't grind out one kind word; 
you ought, for her good, to give her a bit of good advice. 
You haven't a single fatherly way about you ! 

Bolshov. No, and what a pity; must be God made me 
that way. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. God made you that way! 
What's the matter with you ? It seems to me God made her, 


too, didn't he? She's not an animal, Lord forgive me for 
speaking so ! — but ask her something ! 

Bolshov. What shall I ask her ? A goose is no playmate 
for a pig; do what you please. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. We won't ask you when it 
comes to the point; meantime, say something. A man, a 
total stranger, is coming — no matter how much you try, a 
man is not a woman — he's coming for his first visit, when 
we've never seen him before. 

Bolshov. I said, stop it ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What a father you are ! And 
yet you call yourself one ! Ah, my poor abandoned little 
girl, you're just like a little orphan with drooping head ! He 
turns away from you, and won't recognize you ! Sit down, 
Lipochka; sit down, little soul, my charming little darling ! 

[She makes her sit down. 

Lipochka. Oh, stop it, mamma ! You've mussed me all 
up ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. All right, then, I'll look at 
you from a distance. 

Lipochka. Look if you want to, only don't rave ! Fudge, 
mamma, one can't dress up properly without your going off 
into a sentimental fit. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. So, so, my dear! But when 
I look at you, it seems such a pity. 

Lipochka. Why so ? It had to come some time. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. All the same, it's a pity, you 
little fool. We've been raising you all these years, and you've 
grown up — but now for no reason at all we're giving you over 
to strangers, as if we were tired of you, and as if you bored 
us by your foolish childishness, and by your sweet behavior. 
Here, we'll pack you out of the house, like an enemy from the 
town; then we'll come to, and look around, and you'll be 

scene in IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 271 

gone forever. Consider, good people, what it'll be like, 
living in some strange, far-away place, choking on another's 
bread, and wiping away your tears with your fist ! Yes, 
good God, she's marrying beneath her; some blockhead will 
be butting in — a blockhead, the son of a blockhead ! 

[She weeps. 

Lipochka. There you go, crying ! Honestly, aren't you 
ashamed, mamma? What do you mean by blockhead? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. [Weeping] The words came 
out of themselves. I couldn't help it. 

Bolshov. What made you start this bawling? If any- 
body asks you, you don't know yourself. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. I don't know, my dear, I 
don't know; the fit just came over me. 

Bolshov. That's it, just foolishness. Tears come cheap 
with you. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Yes, my dear, they do ! They 
do ! I know myself that they come cheap ; but how can you 
help it? 

Lipochka. Fudge, mamma, how you act ! Stop it ! Now, 
he'll come any moment — what's the use? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. I'll stop, child, I'll stop; I'll 
stop right off ! 

The same, and Ustinya Naumovna 

Ustinya Naumovna. [Entering] How are you, my jewels ! 
What are you gloomy and down in the dumps for? 

[Kisses are exchanged. 
Agrafena Kondratyevna. We'd about given you up. 
Lipochka. Well, Ustinya Naumovna, will he come soon ? 
Ustinya Naumovna. It's my fault, I own up at once; 

272 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act hi 

it's my fault ! But our affairs, my jewels, aren't in a very 
good way. 

Lipochka. How ! What do you mean by that ? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Now what new notion have 
you got ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. Why, my pearls, our suitor is waver- 

Bolshov. Ha, ha, ha ! You're a great go-between ! 
How are you going to make a match? 

Ustinya Naumovna. He's like a balky horse, he won't 
whoa nor giddup. You can't get a sensible word out of him. 

Lipochka. But what's this, Ustinya Naumovna? What 
do you mean, really? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Holy saints ! How can it be ! 

Lipochka. Have you just seen him ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. I was at his house this morning. 
He came out just as he was, in his dressing-gown; but he 
treated me, be it said to his honor. He ordered coffee, and 
rum, and heaps of fancy crackers — simply piles of them. 
"Eat away!" says he, "Ustinya Naumovna." I had come 
on business, you know, so it was necessary to find out some- 
thing definite. So I said: "You wanted to go to-day and 
get acquainted." But on that subject he wouldn't say a 
sensible word to me. "Well," he said, "we'll think it over, 
and advise about it." And all he did was pull at the cords 
of his dressing-gown. 

Lipochka. Why does he just fold his arms and senti- 
mentalize? Why, it's disgusting to see how long this 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Really, now, why is he show- 
ing off? Aren't we as good as he is? 

Ustinya Naumovna. Plague take him; can't we find 
another fellow ? 

scene in IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 273 

Bolshov. Don't you look for another, or the same thing 
will happen again. I'll find another for you myself. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Yes, much you will, unless 
you get down off the stove and hustle. You've actually 
forgotten, I think, that you have a daughter. 

Bolshov. We'll see ! 

Agsafena Kondratyevna. We'll see what? We'll see 

nothing! Bah — don't talk to me, please; don't aggravate 

me. [She sits down. 

Bolshov bursts out laughing; Ustinya Naumovna 

walks off with Lipochka to the other side of the stage. 

Ustinya Naumovna inspects the girVs dress. 

Ustinya Naumovna. My ! how you're dolled up — that 
dress certainly makes you look better. You didn't make it 
yourself, did you ? 

Lipochka. Horrible need I had of making it! Why, do 
you think we're beggars ? What are dressmakers for ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. Beggars, the idea! Who's saying 
anything so foolish to you ? They can tell from your house- 
keeping that you didn't make it yourself. However, your 
dress is a fright. 

Lipochka. What's the matter with you? Have you 
lost your wits ? Where are your eyes ? What gave you 
that wild notion? 

Ustinya Naumovna. What are you getting on your high 
horse for ? 

Lipochka. Nonsense ! Think I'll stand such rubbish ? 
What, am I an uncultivated hussy ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. What are you taking on so for? 
Where did such a caprice come from? Am I finding fault 
with your dress ? Why, isn't it a dress ? — and anybody will 
say it's a dress. But it isn't becoming to you; it's absolutely 
not the right thing for your style of beauty — blot out my 

274 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act in 

soul if I lie. For you a gold one would be little enough; 
let's have one embroidered with seed-pearls. Ah ! there you 
smile, my jewel ! You see, I know what I'm talking about ! 

Tishka. [Entering] Sysoy Psoich wants me to ask whether 
he, says he, can come in. He's out there with Lazar Eli- 

Bolshov. March ! Call him in here with Lazar. 
Tishka goes out. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Well, now, the relish isn't 
ready for nothing: we'll take a snack. Now, Ustinya Nau- 
movna, I suppose you've been wanting a drop of vodka for 
a long time ? 

Ustinya Naumovna. Just the thing — it's one o'clock, the 
admiral's lunch-time. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Now, Samson Silych, move 
out of that place; what are you sitting there like that 

Bolshov. Wait a minute; they're coming up. There's 
time enough. 

Lipochka. Mamma, I'll go change my dress. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Run along, my dear, run 

Bolshov. Wait a minute before changing — there's a 
suitor coming. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What sort of a suitor can that 
be ? Quit your fooling. 

Bolshov. Wait a bit, Lipa, there's a suitor coming. 

Lipochka. Who is it, daddy ? Do I know him or not ? 

•Bolshov. You'll see him in a minute; and then, perhaps, 
you'll recognize him. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What are you listening to 
him for ? What sort of a clown is coming ? He's just talk- 
ing to hear himself talk. 

scene in IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 275 

Bolshov. I told you that he was coming; and I usually 
know what I'm talking about. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. If anybody were actually 
coming, then you'd be talking sense; but you keep saying 
he's coming, he's coming, but God knows who it is that's 
coming. It's always like that. 

Lipochka. Well, in that case I'll stay, mamma. [She goes 
to the mirror and looks at herself. Then to her father] Daddy ! 

Bolshov. What do you want ? 

Lipochka. I'm ashamed to tell you, daddy ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Ashamed of what, you little 
fool ? Speak out if you need anything. 

Ustinya Natjmovna. Shame isn't smoke — it won't eat 
out your eyes. 

Lipochka. No, by heavens, I'm ashamed ! 

Bolshov. Well, hide your face if you're ashamed ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Do you want a new hat; is 
that it ? 

Lipochka. There ! you didn't guess it. No, not a hat. 

Bolshov. Then what do you want? 

Lipochka. To marry a soldier ! 

Bolshov. Just listen to that ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Wake up, you shameless girl ! 
Lord help you ! 

Lipochka. Why — you see, others marry soldiers. 

Bolshov. Well, let 'em. marry 'em; you just sit by the 
sea and wait for a fair breeze. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. And don't you dare give me 
any of your lip ! I won't give you my mother's blessing. 



The same and Lazar, Rispolozhensky, and Fominishna in 
the doorway. 

Rispolozhensky. How do you do, my dear Samson 
Silych ! How do you do, my dear Agrafena Kondratyevna ! 
Olimpiada Samsonovna, how do you do ! 

Bolshov. How are you, old man, how are you ! Do us 
the favor to sit down. You sit down, too, Lazar ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Won't you have a snack? 
I have a relish all ready for you. 

Rispolozhensky. Why shouldn't I, dear lady? I'd just 
like a thimbleful of something now. 

Bolshov. Let's all go in together pretty soon; but now, 
meanwhile, we can have a little talk. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Why not have a little talk ? D'you 
know, my jewels, I heard — it must have been printed in the 
newspaper, whether it's true or not — that a second Bona- 
parte has been born, and it may be, my jewels 

Bolshov. Bonaparte's all right, but we'll trust most of 
all in the mercy of God; it's not a question of that now. 

Ustinya Naumovna. What is it a question of, my pearl ? 

Bolshov. Why, about the fact that our years are approach- 
ing their decline; our health also is failing every minute, 
and the Creator alone can foresee what is ahead. So we have 
proposed, while we're still living, to give in marriage our only 
daughter; and in regard to her settlement we may hope 
also that she'll not bring into ill repute our resources and 
origin; above all, in other people's eyes. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Just hear how sweetly he tells that, 
the jewel ! 

Bolshov. And since now our daughter is here in person, 

scene iv IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 277 

and in view of the fact that we are convinced of the honor- 
able conduct and the sufficient means of our future son-in- 
law, which for us is a matter of extreme concern, in consid- 
eration of God's blessing, we hereby designate him in the 
presence of these witnesses. Lipa, come here. 

Lipochka. What do you want, daddy? 

Bolshov. Come here to me. I shan't eat you, never fear. 
Well, now, Lazar, toddle up ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Been ready a long time, sir ! 

Bolshov. Now, Lipa, give me your hand. 

Lipochka. How ! What nonsense is this ? Where did 
you get this rubbish? 

Bolshov. Look out that I don't have to force you ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Now you're catching it, young lady ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Lord! What on earth is 

Lipochka. I don't want to! I don't want to! I won't 
marry anything so disgusting ! 

Fominishna. The power of the cross be with us ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Evidently, daddy, it's not for me to see 
happiness in this world ! Evidently, sir, it can't be as you 
would wish ! 

Bolshov. [Seizes Lipochka violently by the arm; takes 
Lazar's hand] Why can't it, if I want it to be? What am 
I your father for, if not to command you? Have I fed her 
for nothing? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What're you doing ! What're 
you doing ! Recollect yourself ! 

Bolshov. Stay on your own side of the fence ! This is 
none of your business ! Well, Lipa ! Here's your future 
husband ! I ask you to love and cherish him ! Sit down 
side by side and talk nice; and then we'll have a fine dinner 
and set about the wedding. 


Lipochka. What ! Do you think I want to sit down with 
that booby ! What nonsense ! 

Bolshov. If you won't sit down, I'll sit you down, and 
put an end to your monkey-business ! 

Lipochka. Who ever heard of educated young ladies be- 
ing married off to their employees ! 

Bolshov. Better shut up ! If I say so, you'll marry the 
porter. [Silence. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Say, now, Agrafena Kondratyevna, 
if that isn't a pity ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. I myself, the mother, am as 
much in the dark as a clothes-closet. And I can't under- 
stand what in the world has caused this ! 

Fominishna. Lord ! I'm past sixty, and how many wed- 
dings I've seen; but I've never seen anything so shameful 
as this. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. What do you mean, you mur- 
derers ; do you want to dishonor the girl ? 

Bolshov. Yes, much I have to listen to your high-falutin' 
talk. I've decided to marry my daughter to a clerk, and 
I'll have my way, and don't you dare argue; I don't give a 
hang for anybody. Come now, we'll go take a snack; but 
just let them kid each other, and maybe they'll make it up 
somehow or other. 

Rispolozhensky. Let's go, Samson Silych, and you and 
I, for company, '11 just take a thimbleful. Yes, yes, Agra- 
fena Kondratyevna, that's the first duty, that children 
should obey their parents. We didn't start that custom, 
and we shan't see the last of it. 

They all rise and go out except Lipochka, Podkhal- 
yuzin, and Agrafena Kondratyevna. 

Lipochka. Mamma, what does this mean ? Does he want 
to make a cook of me ? [She weeps. 

scene v IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 279 

Podkhalyuzin. Mamma, ma'am ! Such a son-in-law as 
will respect you and, naturally, make your old age happy, 
aside from me you won't find, ma'am. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. How are you going to do 
that, my dear ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Mamma, ma'am ! God has made me as- 
pire so high, ma'am for this reason, ma'am, because the other 
fellow, mamma, will turn you down flat, ma'am; but I, till 
I land in my coffin [weeps], must have feeling, ma'am ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Ah, saints alive! But how 
can this be ? 

Bolshov. [Through the door] Wife, come here ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Coming, my dear, coming ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Mamma, you remember the word I said 
just now ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna goes out. 


Lipochka and Podkhalyuzin 

Podkhalyuzin. Olimpiada Samsonovna, ma'am ! Olim- 
piada Samsonovna ! I suppose you abominate me ? Say 
only one word, ma'am ! Just let me kiss your little hand ! 

Lipochka. You blockhead, you ignorant lout ! 

Podkhalyuzin. But why, Olimpiada Samsonovna, do you 
want to insult me, ma'am? 

Lipochka. I'll tell you once, now and forever, that I 
won't marry you, and I won't ! 

Podkhalyuzin. That's just as you please, ma'am ! Love 
can't be forced. Only here's what I want to announce to 
you, ma'am 

Lipochka. I won't listen to you; go away from me! As 


if you were an educated gentleman ! You see that I wouldn't 
marry you for anything in the world — you ought to break 
off yourself ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Now, Olimpiada Samsonovna, you were 
pleased to say "break off." Only, if I should break off, 
what would happen then, ma'am? 

Lipochka. Why, the thing that would happen would be 
that I'd marry an aristocrat. 

Podkhalyuzin. An aristocrat, ma'am ! But an aristo- 
crat won't take you without a dowry ! 

Lipochka. What do you mean, without dowry? What 
are you talking about? Just take a look and see what kind 
of a dowry I have; it fairly hits you in the face ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Those dish-rags, ma'am? A nobleman 
won't take dish-rags. A nobleman wants it in cash, ma'am. 

Lipochka. What of it ? Dad will give cash ! 

Podkhalyuzin. All right, if he will, ma'am! But what 
if he hasn't any to give ? You don't know about your papa's 
affairs, but I know 'em mighty well; your papa's a bank- 
rupt, ma'am. 

Lipochka. What do you mean, bankrupt? And the 
house and shops ? 

Podkhalyuzin. The house and shops — are mine, ma'am ! 

Lipochka. Yours ! Get out ! Are you trying to make a 
fool of me ? Look for a bigger goose than I am. 

Podkhalyuzin. But I have here some legal documents. 

[He produces them. 

Lipochka. So you bought them of dad ? 

Podkhalyuzin. I did, ma'am ! 

Lipochka. Where'd you get the money ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Money ! Glory to God, I have more 
money than any nobleman. 

Lipochka. What in the world are they doing to me? 

scene v IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 281 

They've been bringing me up all these years, and then go 
bankrupt ! [Silence. 

Podkhalyuzin. Now suppose, Olimpiada Samsonovna, 
that you married a nobleman — what will that ever amount 
to, ma'am? Only the glory of being a lady, but not the 
least pleasure, ma'am. Please consider: ladies themselves 
often go to the market on foot, ma'am. And if they do 
drive out anywhere, then it's only the glory of having four 
horses; but the whole team ain't worth one merchant's 
horse. By heaven, it ain't, ma'am ! And they don't dress 
so blamed superbly either, ma'am ! But if, Olimpiada Sam- 
sonovna, you should marry me, ma'am — here's the first word : 
you'll wear silk gowns even at home, and visiting, and to the 
theatre, ma'am — and we shan't dress you in anything but 
velvets. In respect to hats and cloaks — we won't care what's 
in style with the nobility, but we'll furnish you the finest 
ever ! We'll get horses from the Orlov stud. [Silence] If 
you have doubts on the question of my looks, then that's 
just as you like, ma'am; I'll put on a dress coat, and trim 
my beard or cut it off, according to the fashion, ma'am; 
that's all one to me, ma'am. 

Lipochka. You all talk that way before the wedding; 
but afterwards you cheat us. 

Podkhalyuzin. May I die on the spot, Olimpiada Sam- 
sonovna ! Damnation blast me if I lie ! Why should I, 
Olimpiada Samsonovna? D'you think we'll live in a house 
like this? We'll buy one in the Karetny, ma'am; and how 
we'll decorate it ! We'll have birds of paradise on the ceil- 
ings, sirens, various Coopids 1 — people'll pay good money just 
to look at it. 

Lipochka. They don't paint Coopids any more nowa- 

1 These are not the "only words that Podkhalyuzin mispronounces; Olimpiada is 

282 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act hi 

Podkhalyuzin. Then we'll let 'em paint bokays. [Silence] 
If you'd only agree on your side, then I don't want anything 
more in life. [Silence] How unfortunate I am, anyhow, that 
I can't say nice compliments. 

Lipochka. Why don't you talk French, Lazar Elizarych? 

Podkhalyuzin. Because there was no reason why I should. 
[Silence] Make me happy, Olimpiada Samsonovna; grant 
me that blessing, ma'am. [Silence] Just tell me to kneel to 

Lipochka. Well, do it! [Podkhalyuzin kneels] What a 
horrid waistcoat you have on ! 

Podkhalyuzin. I'll give this one to Tishka, ma'am, and 
I'll get myself one on the Kuznetsky Bridge, only don't ruin 
me ! [Silence] Well, Olimpiada Samsonovna, ma'am ? 

Lipochka. Let me think. 

Podkhalyuzin. Think about what, ma'am? 

Lipochka. How can I help thinking? 

Podkhalyuzin. Why, you don't need to think ! 

Lipochka. I'll tell you what, Lazar Elizarych ! 

Podkhalyuzin. What're your orders, ma'am? 

Lipochka. Carry me off on the quiet. 

Podkhalyuzin. But why on the quiet, ma'am, when your 
papa and mamma are so willing? 

Lipochka. That's quite the thing to do. Well, if you 
don't want to carry me off, why, let it go as it is. 

Podkhalyuzin. Olimpiada Samsonovna, just let me kiss 
your little hand ! [He kisses it; then he jumps up and runs 
to the door] Daddy, sir ! 

Lipochka. Lazar Elizarych! Lazar Elizarych! Come 
here ! 

Podkhalyuzin. What do you want, ma'am? 

Lipochka. Oh, if you knew, Lazar Elizarych, what my 
life here is like ! Mamma says one thing one day, and an- 

scene vi IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 283 

other the next; papa, when he isn't drunk, has nothing to 
say; but when he's drunk he's apt to beat you at any mo- 
ment. How's a cultivated young lady going to endure such 
a life ? Now, if I could marry a nobleman, I'd go out of this 
house, and could forget about all that. But now everything 
will go on as before. 

Podkhalyuzin. No, ma'am, Olimpiada Samsonovna; it 
won't be that way ! Olimpiada Samsonovna, as soon as 
we've celebrated the wedding, we'll move into our own house, 
ma'am. And then we won't let 'em boss us. No, here's 
an end to all that, ma'am ! That'll do for them — they ran 
things in their day, now it's our turn. 

Lipochka. Just look here, Lazar Elizarych, we shall live 
by ourselves at our house, and they by themselves at their 
house. We'll do everything fashionably, and they, just as 
they please. 

Podkhalyuzin. That's the idea, ma'am. 

Lipochka. Well, call papa now. 

[She rises and prinks before the mirror. 

Podkhalyuzin. Papa! Papa! Sir! Mamma! 


The same, Bolshov, and Agrafena Kondratyevna 

Podkhalyuzin. [Goes to meet Samson Silych and throws 
his arms about him in an embrace] Olimpiada Samsonovna 
has agreed, sir ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. I'm coming, my dears, I'm 
coming ! 

Bolshov. Well, that's talking ! Just the thing ! I know 
what I'm doing; it's not for you to teach me. 

Podkhalyuzin. [To Agrafena Kondratyevna] Mamma, 
ma'am ! Let me kiss your hand ! 

284 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act hi 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Kiss away, my dear; they're 
both clean. Ah, you blessed child, has it been long since 
you decided ? Ah ? Good heavens ! What's this ? I ab- 
solutely didn't know how to decide this matter. Oh, my 
own little darling, you ! 

Lipochka. Mamma, I positively didn't know that Lazar 
Elizarych was such a well-educated gentleman ! But now 
I see at once that he's infinitely more respectful than the 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Well, well, well, you little 
goose ! As if your father would wish you any harm ! Ah, 
mamma's little dove ! What a little story, eh ? Oh, my holy 
saints ! What in the world is this ? Fominishna ! Fomi- 
nishna ! 

Fominishna. Coming, coming, my dear, coming ! 

[She comes in. 

Bolshov. Stop, you gabbler ! Now you two just sit down 
side by side, and we'll have a look at you. Fominishna, 
bring up a little bottle of fizz. 

Podkhalyuzin and Lipochka sit down. 

Fominishna. Right away, my dear, right away ! 

[She goes out. 


The same, Ustinya Naumovna, and Rispolozhensky 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Congratulate the bride and 
groom to be, Ustinya Naumovna! God has brought us to 
a ripe old age; we have lived to see happiness ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. What have I got to congratulate 
you with, my jewels? My mouth's too dry to sing your 

Bolshov. Well, now, we'll wet your whistle. 

scene vii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 285 


The same, Fominishna, and Tishka, who is bringing wine on 
a tray. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Aha! here's a matter of a different 
sort. Well, God grant you live long, keep young, grow fat, 
and be rich ! [She drinks] It's bitter, my jewels ! [Lipochka 
and Lazar kiss] Ah ! that sweetens it ! 

Bolshov. Just let me drink their health. [He takes the 
glass; Lipochka and Lazar stand up] Live as you think 
best — you're reasonable beings. But so that you won't find 
life a bore, the house and shops go to you, Lazar, in place of 
dowry, and I'll throw in some ready cash. 

Podkhalyuzin. Many thanks, daddy; I'm well satisfied 
with what you've done for me as it is. 

Bolshov. Nothing to thank me for ! They're my own 
goods — I made 'em myself. I give 'em to whomever I please. 
Pour me another ! [Tishka pours another glass] But what's 
the good of talking ! Kindness is no crime ! Take every- 
thing, only feed me and the old woman, and pay off the 
creditors at ten kopeks on the ruble. 

Podkhalyuzin. Why, daddy, that's not worth talking 
about, sir! Don't I know what feeling is? It's a family 
affair — we'll settle it ourselves. 

Bolshov. I tell you, take it all, and there's an end to it ! 
And nobody can boss me ! Only pay my creditors. Will 
you pay 'em? 

Podkhalyuzin. If you please, dad, that's my first duty, 

Bolshov. Only you look out — don't give 'em much. As 
it is, I suppose you'll be fool enough to pay the whole 

286 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act in 

Podkhalyuzin. Oh, we'll settle it later, daddy, somehow. 
If you please, it's a family affair. 

Bolshov. Come, all right! Don't you give 'em more 
than ten kopeks. That'll do for them. Well, kiss each 
other ! 

Lipochka and Lazar do so. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Ah, my little doves ! How 
in the world did it happen ! I declare I've quite lost my head. 


"Whoever heard or saw such things ? 
The elephant's learning to fly with wings ; 
The hen laid a door-knob instead of an egg; 
And piggy is dancing a jig on a keg !" 

She pours out wine and goes up to Rispolozhensky; 
Rispolozhensky bows and declines the wine. 

Bolshov. Drink to their happiness, Sysoy Psoich. 

Rispolozhensky. I can't, Samson Silych — it turns my 
stomach ! 

Bolshov. Go along with you ! Drink to their happiness. 

Ustinya Naumovna. He's always showing off ! 

Rispolozhensky. It turns my stomach, Samson Silych! 
By heaven, it does ! I'll just take a thimbleful of vodka. 
But my nature won't stand the other. I have such a weak 

Ustinya Naumovna. Bah ! you long-necked goose ! Non- 
sense — much your nature won't stand it ! Give it here. I'll 
pour it down his collar if he won't drink it ! 

Rispolozhensky. No fair, Ustinya Naumovna ! That 
ain't nice for a lady to do. Samson Silych, I can't, sir ! 
Would I have refused it ? He ! he ! he ! What kind of a 
blockhead am I, that I should do anything so rude? I've 
seen high society, I know how to live. Now, I never refuse 

scene viii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 287 

vodka; if you don't mind, I'll just take a thimbleful! But 
this I simply can't drink — it turns my stomach. Samson 
Silych, don't you allow all this disorderly conduct; it's easy 
to insult a man, but it ain't nice. 

Bolshov. Give it to him hot and heavy, Ustinya Nau- 
movna, hot and heavy ! 

Rispolozhensky runs away from her. 
Ustinya Naumovna. [Placing the wine on the table] You 
shan't get away from me, you old son of a sea-cook ! 

[She pushes him into a corner and seizes him by the collar. 
Rispolozhensky. Police ! 
All burst out laughing. 


A richly furnished chamber in the house of Podkhalyuzin 


Olimpiada Samsonovna is sitting luxuriously near the win- 
dow; she ivears a silk waist, and a bonnet of the latest 
fashion. Podkhalyuzin, in a stylish frock coat, stands 
before the mirror. Behind him Tishka is adjusting his 
master s clothes, and adding the finishing touches. 

Tishka. There now, it fits you to a T ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Well, Tishka, do I look like a Frenchman ? 
Ah ! Step away and look at me ! 

Tishka. Like as two peas. 

Podkhalyuzin. Go along, you blockhead ! Now you just 
look at me. [He walks about the room] There now, Olimpiada 
Samsonovna ! And you wanted to marry an officer, ma'am ! 
Ain't I a sport, though ? I picked the smartest coat I could 
find and put it on. 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. But you don't know how to 
dance, Lazar Elizarych. 

Podkhalyuzin. What of it — won't I learn though, and 
the raggiest ever ! In the winter we're going to attend the 
Merchants' Assemblies. You just watch us, ma'am ! I'm 
going to dance the polka. 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Now, Lazar Elizarych, you buy 
that carriage we saw at Arbatsky's. 

Podkhalyuzin. Of course, Olimpiada Samsonovna, ma'am ! 
Of course, by all means ! 

scene i IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 289 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. They've brought me a new 
cloak; you and I ought to go Friday to Sokolniki. 

Podkhalyuzin. Of course, most certainly we'll go, ma'am ; 
and we'll drive in the park on Sundays. You see our car- 
riage is worth a thousand rubles, and the horses a thousand, 
and the harness mounted with silver — just let 'em look ! 
Tishka! My pipe. [Tishka goes out. Podkhalyuzin sits 
down beside Olimpiada Samsonovna] Just so, ma'am, Olim- 
piada Samsonovna; you just let 'em watch us. 


Olimpiada Samsonovna. Well, why don't you kiss me, 
Lazar Elizarych ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Why, sure ! Permit me, ma'am ! With 
great pleasure ! If you please, your little hand, ma'am ! [He 
kisses it. Silence] Olimpiada Samsonovna, say something 
to me in the French dialect, ma'am ! 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. What shall I say to you ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Oh, say anything — any little thing, ma'am. 
It's all the same to me, ma'am ! 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Kom voo zet zholil 

Podkhalyuzin. What does that mean, ma'am? 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. How nice you are ! 

Podkhalyuzin. [Jumping up from his chair] Aha ! now 
here's a wife for you, ma'am ! Hooray, Olimpiada Samson- 
ovna ! You've treated me fine ! Your little hand, please ! 
Enter Tishka with the pipe. 

Tishka. Ustinya Naumovna has come. 

Podkhalyuzin. What the devil is she here for ! 
Tishka goes out. 



The same and Ustinya Naumovna 

Ustinya Naumovna. How are you managing to live, my 
jewels ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Thanks to your prayers, Ustinya Nau- 
movna, thanks to j^our prayers. 

Ustinya Naumovna. [Kissing Olimpiada Samsonovna] 
Why, I believe you've grown better looking, and have filled 
out a bit ! 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Bah, what nonsense you're chat- 
tering, Ustinya Naumovna ! Now, what struck you to come 

Ustinya Naumovna. What nonsense, my jewel ! Here's 
what's up. Whether you like it or not, you can't help it. — 
If you like to slide down-hill you've got to pull up your 
sled. — Now, why have you forgotten me completely, my 
jewels? Or haven't you had a chance yet to look about 
you ? I suppose you're all the time billing and cooing. 

Podkhalyuzin. We have that failing, Ustinya Naumovna; 
we have it. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Come, come now: just see what a 
nice sweetheart I got for you. 

Podkhalyuzin. We're well satisfied, Ustinya Naumovna; 
we're well satisfied. 

Ustinya Naumovna. How could you be dissatisfied, my 
ruby ? What's the matter with you ! I suppose you're all 
the time bustling around over new clothes, now. Have you 
laid in a stock of stylish things yet? 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Not much so far, and that mostly 
because the new stuffs have just come in. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Naturally, my pearl, you can't help 

scene ii IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 291 

it; let 'em be of poor goods, so long's they're blue ! But 
what kind of dresses did you order most of, woollens or silks ? 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. All sorts — both woollens and 
silks; not long ago I had a crape made with gold trim- 

Ustinya Naumovna. How much have you, all-in-all, 
my jewel ? 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Here, count: my wedding-dress 
of blond lace over a satin slip ; and three velvets — that makes 
four; two gauze and a crape embroidered with gold — that's 
seven; three satin, and three grosgrain — that's thirteen; 
gros de Naples and gros d'Afrique, seven — that's twenty; 
three marceline, two mousseline de ligne, two Chine royale — 
how many's that? — three and four's seven, and twenty— 
twenty-seven; four crape Rachel — that's thirty-one. Then 
there are muslins, bouffe mousseline and calico, about twenty, 
and then waists and morning jackets — about nine or ten. 
And then I've just had one made of Persian stuff. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Lord help you, what heaps you've 
got! But you go and pick out for me the largest of the 
gros d'Afrique ones. 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. I won't give you a gros d'Afrique, 
I have only three myself; besides, it wouldn't suit your 
figure: now, if you want to, you can take a crape Rachel. 

Ustinya Naumovna. What in time do I want with a 
tripe Rachel. Evidently there's nothing to be done with 
you; I'll be satisfied with a satin one, and let it go at that. 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Well, and the satin, too — it's 
not quite the thing, cut ballroom style, very low — you 
understand? But I'll look up a crape Rachel jacket; we'll 
let out the tucks, and it'll fit you like the paper on the wall. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Well, bring on your tripe Rachel! 
You win, my ruby; go open the clothes closet. 

292 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act iv 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Right away; wait just a minute. 

Ustinya Naumovna. I'll wait, my jewel, I'll wait. Be- 
sides, I have to have a little talk with your husband. [Olim- 
piada Samsonovna goes out] What's this, my jewel, have 
you entirely forgotten about your promise? 

Podkhalyuzin. How could I forget, ma'am? I remem- 
ber. [He takes out his pocketbook and gives her a note. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Why, what's this, my diamond? 

Podkhalyuzin. One hundred rubles, ma'am ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Only one hundred? Why, you 
promised me fifteen hundred ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Wha — at, ma'am? 

Ustinya Naumovna. You promised me fifteen hundred ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Ain't that a bit steep? Won't you be 
living too high? 

Ustinya Naumovna. What's this, you barnyard cockerel; 
are you trying to joke with me, man ? I'm a mighty cocky 
lady myself ! 

Podkhalyuzin. But why should I give you money? 
I'd do it if there were any occasion for it. 

Ustinya Naumovna. Whether for something or for noth- 
ing, give it here — you promised it yourself ! 

Podkhalyuzin. What if I did promise ! I promised to 
jump from the Tower of Ivan the Great, provided I married 
Olimpiada Samsonovna; should I jump? 

Ustinya Naumovna. Do you think I won't have the law 
on you ? Much I care that you're a merchant of the second 
guild; I'm in the fourteenth class myself, and even if that 
ain't much, I'm an official's wife all the same. 

Podkhalyuzin. You may be a general's wife — it's all 
the same to me; I won't have anything to do with you ! 
And there's an end to it ! 

scene in IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 293 

Ustinya Naumovna. You lie, it ain't ! You promised 
me a sable cloak. 

Podkhalyuzin. What, ma'am? 

Ustinya Naumovna. A sable cloak! Have you grown 
deaf, maybe? 

Podkhalyuzin. Sable, ma'am ! He, he, he ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Yes, sable ! What are you laughing 
and stretching your mouth at? 

Podkhalyuzin. You haven't gone out for a stroll with 
your mug in a sable cloak 1 yet, have you? 

Olimpiada Samsonovna brings in a dress and hands 
it to Ustinya Naumovna. 


The same and Olimpiada Samsonovna 

Ustinya Naumovna. What in the world is the matter 
with you; do you want to rob me, maybe? 

Podkhalyuzin. Rob you, nothing! You just go to the 
devil, and be done with you! 

Ustinya Naumovna. Are you going to turn me out? 
And I, senseless idiot, agreed to work for you : I can see now 
your vulgar blood ! 

Podkhalyuzin. What, ma'am! Speak, if you please! 

Ustinya Naumovna. When it comes to that, I don't care 
to look at you ! Not for any amount of money on earth 
will I agree to associate with you ! I'll go twenty miles out 
of my way, but I won't go by you ! I'll sooner shut my eyes 
and bump into a horse, than stand and look at your dirty 
den ! Even if I want to spit, I'll never set foot in this street 
again ! Break me in ten pieces if I lie ! You can go to the 
infernal jim-jams if you ever see me here again ! 

1 Russian fur cloaks, it may be useful to remember, have broad collars that can 
be turned up to protect the face. 

294 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act iv 

Podkhalyuzin. Easy now, aunty, easy ! 

Ustinya Naumovna. I'll show you up, my jewels: you'll 
find out ! I'll give you such a rep in Moscow that you won't 
dare show your face in public ! — Oh ! I'm a fool, a fool 
to have anything to do with such a person ! And I, a lady 
of rank and position ! — Fah, fah, fah ! [She goes out. 

Podkhalyuzin. Well, the blue-blooded lady flew off the 
handle ! Oh, Lord, what an official she is ! There's a prov- 
erb that says: ''The thunderbolt strikes, not from the 
clouds, but from the dung-heap." Good Lord ! Just look 
at her; what a lady ! 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Bright idea of yours, Lazar 
Elizarych, ever to have anything to do with her ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Really, a very absurd woman. 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. [Glancing out of the window] I 
believe they've let daddy out of the pen; go see, Lazar 

Podkhalyuzin. Well, no, ma'am; they won't let daddy 
out of the pen soon, either; most likely they ordered him to 
the meeting of the creditors, and then he got leave to come 
home. Mamma, ma'am ! Agrafena Kondratyevna ! Daddy's 
coming, ma'am ! 


The same, Bolshov, and Agrafena Kondratyevna 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Where is he? Where is he? 
My own children, my little doves ! [Kisses are exchanged. 

Podkhalyuzin. Daddy, how do you do, our respects ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. My little dove, Samson Silych, 
my treasure ! You've left me an orphan in my old age ! 

Bolshov. That'll do, wife; stop ! 

scene iv IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 295 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. What's the matter with you, 
ma ? you're crj ing over him as if he were dead ! God only 
knows what's happened. 

Bolshov. That's just it, daughter; God only knows; 
but all the same your father's in jail. 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Why, daddy, there are better 
people than you and me there, too. 

Bolshov. There are, that's so ! But how does it feel 
to be there ? How'd you like to go through the street with 
a soldier ? Oh, daughter ! You see they've known me 
here in this city for forty years; for forty years they've all 
bowed to me down to their belts, but now the street brats 
point their fingers at me. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. You haven't any color at all, 
my darling ! You look like a ghost. 

Podkhalytjzin. Ah, daddy, God is merciful ! When the 
rough places are smoothed over it'll all be pleasant again. 
Well, daddy, what do the creditors say? 

Bolshov. Here's what: they've agreed on the terms. 
"What's the use," they say, "of dragging it out? Maybe 
it'll do good, maybe it won't; but just give something in 
cash, and deuce take you!" 

Podkhalyuzin. Why not give 'em something, sir! By 
all means do, sir ! But do they ask much, daddy ? 

Bolshov. They ask twenty-five kopeks. 

Podkhalyuzin. That's a good deal, daddy ! 

Bolshov. Well, man, I know myself that it's a good deal; 
but what's to be done ? They won't take less. 

Podkhalyuzin. If they'd take ten kopeks, then it'd be 
all right sir. Seven and a half for satisfaction, and two and 
a half for the expenses of the meeting. 

Bolshov. That's the way I talked; but they won't listen 
to it. 

296 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act iv 

Podkhalyuzin. They carry it blamed high! But won't 
they take eight kopeks in five years ? 

Bolshov. What's the use, Lazar, we'll have to give 
twenty-five; that's what we proposed at first. 

Podkhalyuzin. But how, daddy ! You yourself used to 
say not to give more than ten kopeks, sir. Just consider 
yourself: at the rate of twenty-five kopeks, that's a lot of 
money. Daddy, wouldn't you like to take a snack of some- 
thing, sir ? Mamma ! order them to bring some vodka, and 
have them start the samovar; and we, for company's sake, 
'11 just take a thimbleful, sir. — But twenty-five kopeks's a 
lot, sir ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Right away, my dear, right 
away ! [She goes out. 

Bolshov. But what are you talking to me for: of course, 
I know it's a good deal, but how can I help it ? They'll put 
you in the pen for a year and a half; they'll have a soldier 
lead you through the streets every week, and if you don't 
watch out, they'll even transfer you to prison: so you'd be 
glad to give even half a ruble. You don't know where to 
hide yourself from mere shame. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna enters with vodka; Tishka 
brings in relishes, and goes out. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. My own little dove! Eat, 
my dear, eat ! I suppose they half starve you there ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Eat, daddy ! Don't be particular; we're 
offering you such as we have. 

Bolshov. Thanks, Lazar, thanks ! [He drinks] Take a 
drink yourself. 

Podkhalyuzin. Your health ! [He drinks] Mamma, won't 
you have some, ma'am ? Please do ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Holy saints, what am I to 
do now ? Such is the will of God ! O Lord, my God ! 
Ah, my own little dove, you ! 

scene iv IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 297 

Podkhalyuzin. Ah, mamma, God is merciful; we'll get 
out of it somehow. Not all at once, ma'am ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Lord grant we may ! As it 
is, it makes me pine away simply looking at him. 

Bolshov. Well, what about it, Lazar? 

Podkhalyuzin. Ten kopeks, if you please, I'll give^ sir, 
as we said. 

Bolshov. But where am I going to get fifteen more? I 
can't make 'em out of door-mats. 

Podkhalyuzin. Daddy, I can't raise 'em, sir! God sees 
that I can't, sir ! 

Bolshov. What's the matter, Lazar? What's the mat- 
ter? What have you done with the money? 

Podkhalyuzin. Now you just consider: here I'm setting 
up in business — have fixed up a house. But do have some- 
thing to eat, daddy ! You can have some Madeira if you 
want it, sir ! Mamma, pass daddy something. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Eat, Samson Silych, dear! 
Eat ! I'll pour out a little punch for you, dear ! 

Bolshov. [Drinks] Rescue me, my children, rescue me! 

Podkhalyuzin. Here, daddy, you were pleased to ask 
what I had done with the money ? — How can you ask, sir ? 
Just consider yourself: I'm beginning to do business; of 
course, without capital it's impossible, sir; there's nothing 
to begin on. Here, I've bought a house; we've ordered 
everything that a good house ought to have, horses, and 
one thing and another. Just consider yourself ! One has to 
think about the children 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Why, daddy, we can't strip 
ourselves bare! We're none of your common towns- 

Podkhalyuzin. Daddy, please consider: to-day, without 
capital, sir, without capital you can't do much business. 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. I lived with you until I was 

298 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act iv 

twenty years old, daddy, and was a regular stay-at-home. 
What, would you have me give back the money to you, and 
go about again in calico-print clothes? 

Bolshov. What are you saying ? What are you saying ? 
Recollect! You see I'm not asking any kindness of you, 
but my rights. Are you human beings ? 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Why, of course, daddy, we're 
human beings; we're not animals. 

Bolshov. Lazar, you just recollect; you see, I've given 
away everything to you, fairly wiped my slate clean; here's 
what I've got left, you see ! You see, I took you into my 
house when you were a little rascal, you heartless scoundrel ! 
I gave you food and drink as if I were your own father, and 
set you up in the world. But did I ever see any sort of grati- 
tude in you? Did I? Recollect, Lazar, how many times 
have I noticed that you were light-fingered ! What of it ? 
I didn't drive you away as if you were a beast, I didn't 
tell on you all over town. I made you my head clerk; I 
gave all my property away to you; and to you, Lazar, I 
gave even my daughter, with my own hand. If you hadn't 
received permission from me, you'd never have dared look 
at her. 

Podkhalyuzin. If you please, daddy, I feel all that very 
keenly, sir. 

Bolshov. Yes, you do! You ought to give everything 
away as I did, and leave yourself nothing but your shirt, 
just to rescue your benefactor. But I don't ask that, I 
don't need to; you simply pay out for me what's expected 

Podkhalyuzin. And why shouldn't I pay, sir? Only 
they ask a price that's wholly unreasonable. 

Bolshov. But am / asking it? I begged out of every 
one of your kopeks I could; I begged, and bowed down to 

scene iv IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 299 

their feet; but what can I do, when they won't come down 
one little bit ? 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. We have told you, daddy, that 
we can't pay more than ten kopeks — and there's no use say- 
ing any more about it. 

Bolshov. And so, daughter, you say: "Go along now, 
you old devil, you, into the pen ! Yes, into the pen ! Off 
to prison with him, the old blockhead ! And it serves him 
right!" — Don't chase after great wealth, be contented with 
what you have. But if you do chase after wealth, they'll 
take away the last you have, and strip you clean. And it'll 
come about that you'll run out onto the Stone Bridge, and 
throw yourself into the river Moscow. And they'll haul 
you out by your tongue, and put you in prison. [All are 
silent; Bolshov drinks] But you just think a bit: what 
kind of a walk am I going to have to the pen now? How 
am I going to shut my eyes ? Now the Ilyinka will seem to 
me a hundred miles long. Just think, how it will seem to 
walk along the Ilyinka ! It's just as if the devils were drag- 
ging my sinful soul through torment; Lord, forgive me for 
saying so ! And then past the Iver Chapel : 1 how am I going 
to look upon her, the Holy Mother? — You know, Lazar; 
Judas, you see, sold even Christ for money, just as we sell 
our conscience for money. And what happened to him be- 
cause of it? — And then there are the government offices, 
the criminal tribunal ! — You see, I did it with set purpose, 
with malice aforethought. — You see, they'll exile me to Si- 
beria. O Lord ! — If you won't give me the money for any 
other reason, give it as charity, for Christ's sake. 

[He weeps, 

Podkhalyuzin. What's the matter, what's the matter, 
daddy ? There, there, now ! God is merciful ! What's 

1 In which there is a miracle-working image of the Virgin. 

300 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act iv 

the matter with you ? We'll fix it up somehow. It's all in 
our hands. 

Bolshov. I need money, Lazar, money. There's nothing 
else to fix it with. Either money or Siberia. 

Podkhalyuzin. And I'll give you money, sir, if you'll 
only let up. As it is, I'll add five kopeks more. 

Bolshov. What have we come to ! Have you any 
Christian feeling in you ? I need twenty-five kopeks, 
Lazar ! 

Podkhalyuzin. No, daddy, that's a good deal, sir; by 
heaven, that's a good deal ! 

Bolshov. You nest of snakes ! 

[He falls with his head upon the table. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Barbarian, you barbarian ! 
Robber that you are ! You shan't have my blessing ! You'll 
dry up, money and all; you'll dry up, dying before your time ! 
You robber ! Robber that you are ! 

Podkhalyuzin. That'll do, mamma; you're angering God. 
Why are you cursing me when you haven't looked into the 
business ? You can see that daddy has got a bit tipsy, and 
you start to make a row. 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. It would be better for you, ma, 
to keep still ! You seem to enjoy sending people to the third 
hell. I know: you'll catch it for this. It must be for that 
reason God didn't give you any more children. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Keep still yourself, shame- 
less creature ! You were enough of a punishment for God 
to send me ! 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. You think everybody's shame- 
less and that you're the only good person. But you ought 
to take a good look at yourself : all you can do is fast one day 
extra every week, and not a day goes by that you don't 
bark at somebody. 

scene iv IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 301 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Shame on you! Shame on 
you ! Oh ! Oh ! Oh ! — I'll curse you in all the churches ! 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Curse away if you want to ! 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Yes, that's it! You'll die, 
and not rot ! Yes ! 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Much I shall ! 

Bolshov. [Rising] Well, good-by, children ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Why, daddy, sit still ! We've got to 
settle this business somehow or other. 

Bolshov. Settle what? I see plainly enough that the 
jig is up. You'll make a mistake if you don't do me up 
brown! Don't you pay anything for me; let 'em do what 
they please. Good-by, it's time I was going. 

Podkhalyuzin. Good-by, daddy ! God is merciful — 
you'll get out of this somehow. 

Bolshov. Good-by, wife. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Good-by, Samson Silych, 
dear ! When'll they let us come to see you in jail ? 

Bolshov. Don't know. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. Then I'll inquire, otherwise 
you'll die there without our seeing you. 

Bolshov. Good-by, daughter! Good-by, Olimpiada 
Samsonovna! Well, now you're going to be rich, and live 
like a princess. That means assemblies and balls — devil's 
own amusements ! But don't you forget, Olimpiada 
Samsonovna, that there are cells with iron bars, and poor 
prisoners are sitting in them. Don't forget us poor pris- 
oners. [He goes out with Agrafena Kondratyevna. 

Podkhalyuzin. Ah ! Olimpiada Samsonovna, ma'am ■ 
How awkward, ma'am ! I pity your father, by heaven I pity 
him, ma'am ! Hadn't I better go myself and compound 
with his creditors? Don't you think I'd better, ma'am? 


Yet he himself will soften them better. Ah ! Or shall I 
go ? I'll go, ma'am ! Tishka ! 

Olimpiada Samsonovna. Do just as you please — it's 
your business. 

Podkhalyuzin. Tishka ! [Tishka enters] Give me my 
old coat, the worst one there is. [Tishka goes out] As I am, 
they'd think I must be rich; and in that case, there'd be 
no coming to terms. 


The same, Rispolozhensky and Agrafena Kondratyevna 

Rispolozhensky. My dear Agrafena Kondratyevna, 
haven't you pickled your cucumbers yet? 

Agrafena Kondratyevna. No, my dear. Cucumbers 
now, indeed ! What do I care about them ! But have you 
pickled yours ? 

Rispolozhensky. Certainly we have, my dear lady. 
Nowadays they're very dear; they say the frost got them. 
My dear Lazar Elizarych, how do you do ? Is that vodka ? 
I'll just take a thimbleful, Lazar Elizarych. 

Agrafena Kondratyevna goes out with Olimpiada 

Podkhalyuzin. Why is it you've favored us with a visit, 
may I inquire ? 

Rispolozhensky. He, he, he ! — What a joker you are, 
Lazar Elizarych ! Of course you know why. 

Podkhalyuzin. And what may that be, I should like to 
know, sir? 

Rispolozhensky. For money, Lazar Elizarych, for money ! 
Anybody else might come for something different, but I 
always come for money ! 

Podkhalyuzin. You come mighty blamed often for money. 

scene v IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 303 

Rispolozhensky. How can I help it, Lazar Elizarych, 
when you give me only five rubles at a time? You see I 
have a family. 

Podkhalyuzin. You couldn't expect me to give you a 
hundred at a time ! 

Rispolozhensky. If you'd give it to me all at once, I 
shouldn't keep coming to you. 

Podkhalyuzin. You know about as much about business 
as a pig does about pineapples; and what's more, you take 
bribes. Why should I give you anything? 

Rispolozhensky. Why, indeed ! — You yourself promised 

Podkhalyuzin. I myself promised ! Well, I've given you 
money — you've made your profit, and that'll do; it's time 
to turn over a new leaf. 

Rispolozhensky. What do you mean by "time to turn 
over a new leaf" ? You still owe me fifteen hundred rubles. 

Podkhalyuzin. Owe you ! Owe you ! As if you had some 
document ! And what for ? For your rascality ! 

Rispolozhensky. What do you mean by "rascality" ? For 
my toil, not for my rascality ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Your toil ! 

Rispolozhensky. Well, whatever it may be for, just give 
me the money, or a note for it. 

Podkhalyuzin. What, sir! A note! Not much, you 
come again when you're a little older. 

Rispolozhensky. Do you want to swindle me with my 
little children ? 

Podkhalyuzin. Swindle, indeed ! Here, take five rubles 
more, and go to the devil. 

Rispolozhensky. No, wait! You'll not get rid of me 
with that. 

Tishka enters. 

304 IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR act iv 

Podkhalyuzin. What are you going to do to me ? 

Rispolozhensky. My tongue isn't bought up yet. 

Podkhalyuzin. Oh, perhaps you want to lick me, do you ? 

Rispolozhensky. No, not lick you, but to tell the whole 
thing to all respectable people. 

Podkhalyuzin. What are you going to talk about, you 
son of a sea-cook ! And who's going to believe you ? 

Rispolozhensky. Who's going to believe me? 

Podkhalyuzin. Yes ! Who's going to believe you ? Just 
take a look at yourself ! 

Rispolozhensky. Who's going to believe me? Who's 
going to believe me ? You'll see ! Yes, you'll see ! Holy 
saints, but what can I do ? It's my death ! He's swindling 
me, the robber, swindling me ! No, you wait ! You'll see ! 
It's against the law to swindle ! 

Podkhalyuzin. But what'll I see ? 

Rispolozhensky. Here's what you'll see ! You just 
wait, just wait, just wait ! You think I won't have the law 
on you ? You wait ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Wait; yes, wait ! — As it is, I've waited 
long enough. Quit your bluffing, you don't scare me. 

Rispolozhensky. You think no one will believe me? 
Won't believe me ? Well, let 'em insult me ! I — here's what 
I'll do : Most honorable public ! 

Podkhalyuzin. What're you doing ? What're you doing ? 
Wake up ! 

Tishka. Shame on you; you're just running around 
drunk ! 

Rispolozhensky. Wait, wait ! — Most honorable public ! 
I have a wife, four children — look at these miserable boots ! — 

Podkhalyuzin. All lies, gentlemen ! A most dishonorable 
man, gentlemen ! That'll do for you, that'll do ! — You'd 
better look out for yourself first, and see what you're up to ! 

scene v IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR 305 

Rispolozhensky. Lemme go ! He plundered his father- 
in-law ! And he's swindling me. — A wife, four children, 
worn-out boots ! 

Tishka. You can have 'em half-soled. 

Rispolozhensky. What 're you talking about? You're 
a swindler, too ! 

Tishka. Not at all, sir; never mind. 

Podkhalyuzin. Oh ! But what are you moralizing about ? 

Rispolozhensky. No, you wait ! I'll remember you ! 
I'll send you to Siberia ! 

Podkhalyuzin. Don't believe him, it's all lies, gentlemen ! 
There, gentlemen, he's a most dishonorable man himself, 
gentlemen; he isn't worth your notice! Bah, my boy, 
what a lout you are ! Well, I never knew you — and not for 
any blessings on earth would I have anything to do with you. 

Rispolozhensky. Hold on there, hold on! Take that, 
you dog ! Well, may you be strangled with my money, and 
go to the devil ! [He goes out. 

Podkhalyuzin. How mad he got! [To the public] Don't 
you believe him, I mean him who was talking, gentlemen — 
that's all lies. None of that ever happened. He must have 
seen all that in a dream. But now we're just opening a 
little shop: favor us with your patronage. Send the baby 
to us, and we won't sell him a wormy apple !